Bible Society of South Africa

Goals and resolutions: Remain calm – 14 February 2022

By Charlea Sieberhagen-Grey

Bible text(s)

Hearing and Doing

19Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.

James 1:19GNBOpen in Bible reader

A few days ago, we read that the Bible encourages us not to get angry quickly – that we constantly need to try to be gentle with other people. When we read Galatians 5:22-23 further, we read that the last “fruit of the Spirit” is self-control. Yes, to control yourself and remain calm.

“But when the Holy Spirit lives in people and rules over them, then their lives change: They love other people, they are pleased with them, they make peace, they are patient, they are friendly and good, they do what they promise, they do not become angry quickly, and they stay calm. The laws say that all of these things are good.” (Galatians 5:22-23, EBD)

For me, gentleness and self-control go together hand in hand to a great degree.

I think that in the world we live today, self-control is such an important and beautiful characteristic. Precisely because every day can be so stressful and one often feels frustrated about the hardships and difficulties of life. Furthermore, we live at such a fast pace – everything needs to happen faster and immediately. So much so, that we sometimes forget to take a step back before we take action or react.

The Bible encourages us to be ready to listen to the biblical message of God at all times. In the same way, I believe that we need to listen to what our colleagues and loved ones have to say to us – not listen in order to respond immediately, but listen to really hear. And then to think about what and how to respond.

There is an old adage in Afrikaans: ‘Haastige hond verbrand sy mond’. It illustrates the point that when we react in a hasty manner without demonstrating self-control, we often say and do things that really should have remained unsaid and undone. And naturally, God knew our human natures from the beginning, it is why he encourages us to stay calm and to think before we speak or do something.

Prayer: Father, help me to tackle this year with serenity and self-control. Help me to remain calm when I find myself in difficult situations in order that I am able to behave in the right way and also to glorify your name. Ame

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