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.