November 2023 Column

Cultivating Righteousness

Slow To Speak

How do we stand out in a world full of lashing out and abandonment? As young adults, we must stand firm in how we live and, most importantly, reflect Christ in how we love. We can do this by following God’s Word and living out the instructions laid in it.

In James 1:19-20 we are told that “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” We are told this, but how do we separate and cultivate righteousness?

Firstly, we are called to be quick to listen. In a world filled with noise, distractions, and conflicting voices, we must be intentional not just to listen but to be still and listen. When a person is still, it is easier to listen. That stillness is not just physical but emotional and even spiritual. Understanding, empathizing, and connecting with others is essential, and when we are quick to listen, we build stronger relationships and gain valuable insights. Being still and listening also creates a spiritual avenue to build a stronger relationship with our Creator and, by default, helps us reflect the heart of Christ in our interactions with others.

Secondly, we are encouraged to be slow to speak. Our words can build up or destroy, encourage or discourage, inspire or wound. Being slow to speak allows us to reflect and determine the value of our words. Reflecting and keeping calm allows us to avoid hurtful remarks and unnecessary conflicts and practice self-control with ourselves and others. Being slow to speak allows us to share the same wisdom and grace bestowed on us by our God.

Lastly, we are urged to be slow to become angry. Anger is natural, but what is done with that anger can lead many to bitterness, resentment, and unrighteous actions. Ephesians 4:31-32 reads, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”. The emphasis here is to be kind, tenderhearted, and to forgive, even as Christ forgave you. Whether in the moment of anger or resentment built up, we are to follow the example set before us. Being slow to become angry does not mean suppressing our emotions but instead submitting them to God’s guidance and allowing His love to shape our responses.

The passage in James 1:19-20 reminds us that human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. True and lasting righteousness is cultivated through intentional practice with our Savior and, in response, with others. When we communicate with God first, righteousness is seen in our willingness to listen, speak words of life, and respond with grace.

Questions for Discussion

How can we keep God’s mercy and patience in mind

How can we show patience towards those who offend us and enjoy it?

What do we deny ourselves when we lash out and lose friendships?

As young adults, we face many situations that provoke us to anger. Whatever disagreements, challenges, or injustices we face, we are called to respond in a way that reflects the righteousness of God. It may not always be easy, but we stand apart in a world full of sin and hate by cultivating righteousness. By being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, we reflect God’s love in how we live and interact with others.

         Embrace this call to cultivate righteousness.  We stand out by following in how God has shown us His love and patience. By clinging to His Word, may we quiet the storm within us to help us endure the storm outside. We must have His peace inside to offer the world the peace that God gives. As we cultivate righteousness, may our words and actions be a testimony to the transforming power of Christ in us.

Contributors

Editor
Xiomara Perdomo

Xiomara Perdomo

Assistant to the President for Mission

Writer
Josue Hernandez

Josue Hernandez

Group Leader - Prayer Room

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David Asscherick

David is a speaker/director for Light Bearers and ARISE co-founder and instructor. Since his baptism in 1999, David has traveled the globe preaching and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He and his wife Violeta are the happy parents of two boys, Landon and Jabel.

Keynote Speaker

Benjamin Lundquist, host of Rise & Lead, will headline 2023 AYP Convention.

Benjamin Lundquist is a top motivational speaker and one the leading voices for leadership development and empowerment. He is passionate about helping students and professionals see their worth and value, see themselves as a leader, and see their potential to change the world. The message he shares is motivating, relatable, and highly practical. Audiences are challenged to take extreme ownership of the unique gifts and opportunities they have. He is an international speaker and host of Rise and Lead Podcast which has been downloaded in over 110 countries providing aspiring and experienced leaders of all ages with world-class content and conversation. He frequently speaks at corporate and faith events, universities, and high schools.

Identity in Christ | Breakout Track

April is currently an associate pastor for discipleship at Keene SDA church. She is enrolled in a dual graduate program for Public Health and MDIV chaplaincy. She enjoys working with different ministries that highlight service, hospitality, and life enrichment. 

Her hobbies include traveling, reading, music, and extreme sports. An introvert at heart, she enjoys moments with close friends and in the quiet. Her and her husband, Blake Snyder reside in Burleson, Texas.

Purpose & Calling | Breakout Track

Ann Roda likes to describe her life as one long adventure with God. She began her career as a registered nurse in OB then transitioned into healthcare administration. Then, God unexpectedly redirected her path to the Adventist Theological Seminary, for an MDiv, and into pastoral ministry. She spent 15 years as a church pastor in Marietta, Georgia and Fulton, Maryland. Six years ago, God had another adventure for Ann, and called her back into the health care ministry, serving with Adventist HealthCare as Vice President for Mission and Spiritual Care. 

This position is the perfect combination of both pastoral ministry and health care. Ann is married to Jose Hernandez, a licensed professional counselor. Ann and her husband enjoy hiking, biking, and traveling.

Relationships | Breakout Track

Stephen and Felecia Lee are partners in the mission. They share a mutual passion for young adult ministries and using their talents to share the Gospel online and through speaking engagements. Stephen helps individuals and businesses function more efficiently through time management and productivity techniques. Felecia is a full-time homemaker and also the founder of the New Wives Club. 

In addition to this, she runs a program teaching women of color how to learn principles of faith through natural hair care. They live in New Hampshire and speak in different places on topics related to singleness, courtship, communication, evangelism, and faith.

Spiritual Health | Breakout Track

Shawn is passionate about generations coming together! She grew up in a four-generation family business and knows, from first-hand experience, that when people of all ages work together, everyone wins!

She has a B.S. in marketing from the University of Nebraska and is an award-winning sales and marketing professional. Her professional certifications include being a member of the John Maxwell Team and DISC Behavioral Consultant. Recently she published her first book “Strategies for Generational Inclusion at Work.”

Communities | Breakout Track

Michael Gibson currently serves as the Lead Pastor at the Keene SDA Church where he most previously served for four years as Pastor for Young Adults and lead Elevate, a growing and thriving young adult community in Keene. Michael is married to Melissa and they both enjoy the outdoors, long walks, and traveling to new, unexplored places. 

Most days, when he’s not teaching, preaching or studying, you’ll find him playing disc golf or working on home renovations with Melissa. They recently welcomed their son, Micah Eden, into the world last October and ever since, life has taken on a whole new meaning. Above all, Michael and Melissa have a passion for discipleship and telling others about the incredible God they serve. For them, the gospel boils down to loving God and loving people.