Jesus does not condemn you. If you are in the middle of living a sinful life, stop and sin no more. Take a pause, turn away from that sin and turn toward the Lord. If you are trying to deal with your attitude and to become more Christ-like, pause to pray before you speak. Be slow to speak. Be slow to get angry and quick to listen. Take a pause. There’s so much power when we pause and pray in those moments. Let’s continue in this week’s series where we’re camping out on this idea of stopping to rest on the power of the pause.
When you’re on a road trip and you really need a rest stop, maybe you drank that big gulp or the venti coffee and you’re like, okay honey, it is time to stop. Or when you just need a good meal, you’re hangry. I think life is like that too. You and I are human beings. We get weary, we get hangry, and it is good for us to stop every once in a while and take a rest. The earth isn’t going to stop spinning if you and I do that, and that’s why I love our series this week on the Bible for Busy People. Selah, It’s a Hebrew word found in the Psalms throughout the Bible, and experts believe it simply means perhaps a moment of silence in a song, or just a moment to pause. They’re not a hundred percent sure, but it’s beautiful to consider God’s words as you’re reading them. To not just let them fly by, but to stop each one is rich to me. I’ve always compared it to eating a delicious piece of cheesecake or coconut cake, my two favorites with a dark roast coffee. And you take a bite and you take a sip and you alternate, and it’s just this wonderful experience where you’re stopping to savor dessert and coffee. What if you and I stopped and savored God’s words like that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful? I really think it would. Selah is like a rest stop in his Word. So, this week you and I are pitching a tent. We’re camping out on this idea of stopping to rest on the power of the pause. So join me in James chapter one beginning in verse 19. We’re going to see the value of pausing, and then we’re going to watch a moment in Jesus’ life when He paused for a very important reason. Okay, James 1:19.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
Woo. That’s some big stuff right there. But I’m really, really curious about what James says there at the beginning of this passage.
Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to get angry.
Pause Especially if you feel angry or if you feel offended, that is the best time to pause in a conversation. Be slow to speak. You don’t have to respond right away. Slow to get angry. One thing I tell myself a lot these days is, Erica, nobody sat at a table and conspired how to offend you. You ever get easily offended and you’re like, wait a second. That is not what anybody would do. But yet we take that upon ourselves. We start spinning ideas and stories in our minds. So, when we pause, when we’re offended, or when we’re angry, whatever it is, we have a moment to collect our thoughts and regain a Christian attitude, right? A Jesus like response. We’re not perfect, so we’re not going to get it right every time, but the pause is something you and I can lean on in that moment to at least give us a fighting chance. All right. We are going to move on now to the gospel of John chapter eight and watch when Jesus takes a pause in a very important moment. A crucial moment in one woman’s life. Here we go. John chapter eight, beginning in verse one.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and placing her in the midst. They said to him, teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say? This they said to test him that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
Okay, Jesus is taking a pause. There is a selah in his life here. Verse seven now.
And as they continue to ask him, he stood up and said to them, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.
Wow. Now, the woman’s accusers are kind of forced to pause. How do you respond to such a beautiful defense? Jesus’ words were absolutely perfect, which of course shouldn’t surprise us because he is perfect. But wow. So now these accusers are forced to pause and consider what Jesus said because they had to have looked in their own hearts in that moment and seen their own sins, right? We are all sinners. I mean, Jesus saves us by his grace and by what he did on the cross. But we all have sin in our hearts. It’s just that now, when we’ve accepted Jesus into our lives, he forgives us. He washes it away. He’s just that good. Okay, let’s pick up the story now in verse eight.
And once more, he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones,
These are the woman’s accusers now.
and Jesus was left alone with a woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She said, no one Lord. And Jesus said, neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, sin no more.
There is still an accuser in this world. Our enemy loves to remind us of the things we’ve done wrong, and our mistakes, the ones we’ve already asked Jesus to forgive. So I want to leave you with these words today from the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter eight, beginning in verse one.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Jesus does not condemn you either. If you are in the middle of living a sinful life, stop and sin no more. Take a pause, turn away from that sin and turn toward the Lord. If you are trying to deal with your attitude and to become more Christ-like, that’s something I’m trying so hard to do… Pause to pray before you speak. Be slow to speak. Be slow to get angry and quick to listen. Take a pause. There’s so much power when we pause and pray in those moments, even if it’s just, Help Lord! All right. Until next time, you are loved.
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