Writings – James Why is this happening to me? James 1:1-18; 5:7-12 July 29, 2018
I. Let’s CONSIDER the word “CONSIDER”. (v.2-18)
A. It LITERALLY means “to LEAD.” (v.2)
B. Faith is a MINDSET or PERSPECTIVE… (v.2,9,12,13,16)
C. …that COMES from WISDOM. (v.5-7)
James makes a good follow up for Ecclesiastes. He was steeped both in the wisdom of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 5-7). He starts right away with a basic premise, true wisdom shapes how you see what is happening in your life.
1. How does what Jeff called a “mindset of faith” differ from just having a positive mental attitude?
2. Who do you know that embodies the type of wisdom that James is writing about here? How did they develop that?
II. The WORK of spiritual MATURING. (v.2-4,12,18; 5:7-11)
A. What COMES from GOD. (v.13,16-18)
B. What LIVES within US. (v.13-15)
C. The TENSION between the TWO. (v.2-4,12,13-15)
The reason wisdom, or true perspective, is so important is because we are a part of something way bigger than just ourselves. God is shaping and maturing us, stripping away the things that would destroy us, and making us into a reflection of who Jesus is. It’s a competition of agendas, and God will not lose. But far too often we put up a good fight to maintain control.
3. On a scale of 1-10 how hard do you find it to actually believe that all the trials that come in life can actually be God giving good gifts to us?
4. When have you found a trial or test to help you mature and grow?
5. What role do other believers play in helping you to step away from the “evil desires” that are within us? How willing are you to accept that role from others?
III. ACCEPTING the WISDOM we ask for. (v.5-8)
A. Don’t MISS the process in the MOMENT. (v.2; Gen. 50:20)
B. Don’t JUMP to CONCLUSIONS. (v.13; 5:12; Jn 13:7)
C. Some DESIRES drag you away from GIFTS. (v.14-18; Eph. 4:20-24)
D. Let God FINISH what He STARTED. (v.18; Rom. 8:28-29)
If we want to be wise we need to ask for wisdom, but just as we saw last week in the end of Ecclesiastes, wisdom entails action. If we want God to help us see life and the situations we encounter from His perspective then we need to be willing to let go of our own preconceived plans and receive the gifts that he is bringing to finish what He has started in us.
6. Are you more likely to lose the big picture in the moment, or to jump ahead and form conclusions before the truth becomes evident? How can you stop doing that?
7. What is one desire you would like to ask God to help you lay aside? Will you ask Him to help with that?
8. How does the confidence that God will not fail in what He is doing with you shape your life today?