Rejecting Favoritism

Comment

Rejecting Favoritism

The Book of James / Rejecting Favoritism |James 2:1-13

Warm Up: Genuine faith results in action and moving beyond ourselves to obey Jesus and follow Him. It’s human nature to form biases and show partiality. This week James cuts to our hearts by clearly commanding that we reject favoritism. Favoritism is a real struggle, not only in the church, but in our society at large. What are some ways we see favoritism “show up” in our culture, in our jobs, and within our relationships?

  • Read James 2:1-7. James shines a light on the glaring reality of favoritism within the church. Rich people were being shown attention and honor and poor people were flippantly overlooked. What are some ways you have seen “favoritism” manifest itself in the church?
  • We all make distinctions in our hearts about people, which often lead us to favor some people over others. In what ways is distinction healthy and good? In what ways can it lead to partiality? Where do you personally struggle with showing favoritism? 
  • Who don’t you “see” in your life? What are some reasons you don’t “see” them?
  • Read James 2:8-13. Thankfully for us, God does not play favorites. In fact, in God’s economy, it is the exact opposite. The value is placed on those who are poor (those who recognize their need) rather than those who stubbornly trust in material wealth to meet their every need. God rejects the notion of favoritism because it is in direct opposition to His “royal law” (see v. 12). Seth shared three ways that we can reject favoritism and obey the higher law of love:
  • Consider Your Motivations – there are many reasons why we “play favorites.” What are some of these? What motivations help us reject favoritism?
  • Consider Your Family (Body of Christ) – Read Romans 12:4-5. As the body of Christ, unity is not something to work for, or work on, it is meant to be realized and embraced as something God has provided for us. How does understanding our relationship to one another in Christ, help us reject favoritism? What are ways we can live united and show our unity to the world around us?
  • Consider Your Witness – Read John 13:34-15. Why is rejecting favoritism in the church such a powerful witness to non-believers? Has there ever been a time in your life when God helped you see your own biases? How did it change your heart?

Wrap Up: God sent Jesus as a sacrifice for the salvation of everyone— not just his favorites. He did not have to be “sold” on the sacrifice, but was moved to do so based on loving compassion and grace. Jesus’ act of sacrifice proved his rejection of favoritism. What are some additional ways you can reject favoritism at this time in your life? Pray for God’s help in this! Ask the Lord for obvious opportunities to SEE those who you can encourage, support, and love in Jesus’ name.

Comment

Becoming Wise

Comment

Becoming Wise

Becoming Wise

James 1:5-8, 3:13-18

Warm Up: James continues to coach us to put action to our faith, to not just believe, but to do. This week James reminds us that when we act, we need to do so with wisdom. Something that, not only Christians, but the world, knows it needs so desperately. What are some common “words of wisdom” that we hear in our culture and that people seem to value?

  • Read James 1:5-7. One definition of wisdom is, “the moral discernment that enables a believer to meet life and its trials with decisions and actions consistent with God’s will.” Wisdom is something that we need in order to live a faith-filled life according to God’s will. If wisdom is so vital, where does it come from and how do we get it?
  • Can you think of a time in your life when you needed wisdom, asked God for it, and He answered…even in a surprising way? 
  • Read James 3:13-18. In this world there are two types of wisdom: from God or from the world. From this passage, what are some contrasts that you see between these two types of wisdom?
  • Those using “worldly wisdom” often abide by this sort of mantra: “I just know how to get things done.” What does this mentality say about this type of person? Have you known people who live with this mantra?
  • In contrast, 1 Corinthians 1:18-23, 2:12-16, and 3:18 show us that godly wisdom looks out for the good of another, that it comes through the Holy Spirit, and it is about living righteously before others (Read these passages aloud). If you were to embrace this kind of wisdom and walk in obedience to it, in what ways would your decisions at work, home, and with friends be different? Is there an “action” you sense God is inviting you take here?
  • In getting God’s wisdom we first need to make the decision to actually follow God’s ways in our daily lives. Second, we need to ask Him for wisdom daily, continually, and as problems, trials, and tests arise. Lastly, we need to study the Bible to know, understand, and become well acquainted with God’s heart.
  • Of these, which do you find easiest? Which is most difficult? Share some ways you have been able to stay diligent in doing these.

Wrap Up: Acts 6:1-7 is an example of how the Apostles acted with the wisdom of God. They moved to action and took responsibility. What does it look like for you to apply God’s wisdom and “take responsibility” in the trials that you are currently facing? Spend some time asking God for His wisdom and the boldness to act according to His will!

Comment

WHEN TROUBLES COME YOUR WAY

Comment

WHEN TROUBLES COME YOUR WAY

WHEN TROUBLES COME YOUR WAY

JAMES 1:1-4

Warm Up: Some have called the Book of James a beautiful punch in the gut! It’s a book about action, obedience, and living out our beliefs in practical ways. As you begin this study, take a moment to invite the Holy Spirit to transform your lives through this series. James comes to you as a coach, even more than a teacher, and will challenge you to use your hands, feet, money, and words to carry out God’s purposes. In short, “... don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” - James 1:22.

Read aloud James 1:1-4. What changed in James’ life that prompted him not to introduce himself as the half-brother of Jesus but, rather, as a “servant of the Lord Jesus Christ”?

Read James 1:1-4 again. Right out of the gate, James addresses the themes of “struggle, suffering, persecution, and trials." These new Jesus-followers in the first Christian community in Jerusalem, were facing heavy persecution.

  • What does James 1:2 teach us about these troubles and how are we told to respond?
  • When it comes to troubles, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” (v.2). Trials are not optional. What are some examples of how you have experienced troubles or trials in your own life? 

  • Since we know that life is filled with trials and testings, preparation is key. What are some ways you have personally experienced solid preparation that enabled you to stand your ground in the midst of one of life’s storms? In what ways do you sense you need to be more prepared? (Scripture memory, more accountability, prayer, etc?)

    Since trials are a something that everyone faces in life, spend some time thinking/sharing about a trial you are currently going through. How is God working through this trial? How has your faith changed since going through this time of hardship? 

    Wrap Up: James stresses the importance of enduring through the suffering we face because through it all, we become more like Jesus. He knew the great value of enduring through suffering. Read Hebrews 12:1-3. What was the “joy” that was “set before Him,” and how did this change His reaction to the impending suffering of the cross? How does this make you feel about the suffering that you face today?

PRAY

Comment