NEXT PODCAST: THREE TOP CHARACTERISTICS FOR SUCCESSSuccess in our mixed up, competitive world can be achieved by the tried and true character traits that can be mastered with discipline, effort and action-along with the help of the Holy Spirit. In today’s world, more often than not, we want instant results, but instant results rarely if ever exist outside of a great deal of discipline and effort, dependency on God, and a teachable spirit. With that in mind, I want to show you three characteristics that will make you more successful, competitive, and likable in today’s world. Let’s start with the third characteristic, the age old discipline of learning to listen:
- LEARN THE DISCIPLINE TO LISTEN: Some of us are more verbal than others so this one is harder for some than others. For people who are quiet by nature, this one is easy. For those of us, like me, who are more verbal, this take effort and great effort at times. There is nothing wrong than speaking, and even speaking loudly as long as one knows “WHEN” to be quiet and listen. Nobody likes a person who dominates the room as one who over talks often negates one’s own credibility-even if what they are saying is wise and informative. Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent”. Learning to listen is a skill that will help you unveil where others are in their life, their spiritual journey, what they may want or need, and a host of other information in business and in life. This will help you not only in business and your personal life. It will also empower you to better share your faith with a non-believing world and encourage other believers. That’s number one. Learn better how to listen.
- BE SLOW TO SPEAK: Being slow to speak follows learning the skill of listening. They go hand in hand, as one should listen before they can intelligibly speak in most cases. We all want to be heard and we all have lots to say. If you want to captivate your audience, show your credibility in what you are sharing, inspire others to do and think. This will maximize your impact but takes developing the art of not only “listening” and “hearing”, but also being slow to speak in response to the other person according to their needs and questions. So, we start by learning to listen to the needs of others and then honing the skill of being slow to speak-to reply to them. To be honest, while I was born in America, I am from an all Italian decent-we by nature talk fast, loud, and direct. For me, this has taken a great deal discipline for me to better master this. But years in the making, I have gotten much better. I still remember my natural default and put hard stops in my verbal actions to “truly listen” to others. It’s easy to wait for the paust, but we should be authentically listening to other person(s). I know others who are very quiet and say very little. For them, this is much more easy accomplished. That being said, for those of us who are more verbal and direct, when we hone in and better develop the art of being quick to listen and slow to talk, we are able to be some of the most impactful and influential people on the planet. We must also keep in mind that we will never be a quiet person. Remember, we can influence others with our gifts and cultural upbringing when done so appropriately, according to your environment. Lastly, I want to look at a third trait which is our carnal desire to get angry. This often flows from numbers one and two, so let’s take a look.
- BE SLOW TO ANGER. Simply put, human anger, customarily sinful (Matthew 5:22), does not achieve God’s “righteousness” (3:18; 5:6, 16) either in oneself or in others. This compliments numbers one and two as an issue in our personal and professional lives. We see a lot of unbridled angler in today’s world. Just tune into your news source and read the headlines about how people treat one another. More often than not, anger is at the center of most all conflicts. Our witness for Jesus Christ depends on our ability to listen, be slow to speak. This in turn will give you and I the runway we need to defuse our own anger, and the anger in others in all sorts of situations ranging from our co-worker conflicts to marital disputes, to road range and everything in-between.
For you and I as Christians, we are to learn what God is teaching us through His Word. In this case, the conclusion of the introduction of James (James 1:2-18) demonstrates that ending trials leads to a crown of life (v.12) and yielding to temptation can lead to physical death (v.15). Since that is the case, the believer in the midst of a trial needs to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger”. QUICK TO HEAR (1:21-2:26) counteracts sluggishness to obey God. SLOW TO SPEAK (3:1-18) corrects sins of the tongue. And SLOW TO ANGER (4:1-5:18) evades outbursts in trials. Together, these three exhortations reveal the outline of James letter in whole.
In closing, let’s remember that success in our mixed up, competitive world can be achieved by the tried and true, biblical character traits that can be mastered with discipline, effort and action-along with the help of the Holy Spirit. These three God given characteristics will make you more successful, competitive, and likable in today’s world. Most importantly, discipling yourself to better master these three characteristics will enrich your relationships, marriage, and give you a magnificent witness for the Christian faith for reasons stated above.
In closing, please allow me to leave you with one simple verse which is James 1:19, which says this: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (JAMES 1:19)