WHEN TROUBLES COME YOUR WAY
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?