In addition to doing this study with you on the blog, I’m doing it with a group of new Christians. (I’ve questioned my judgment since, as James can be so easily misunderstood as teaching works righteousness! Pray for us — I think we are getting there.) James is writing to believers who should be mature, yet are not living out the faith they profess. One woman is struggling because Paige reminds her of an angry teacher she once had.
Photo courtesy of andrea-piacquadio on pexels
I told her, “I know the tone is hard. But Paige is simply portraying the teaching of James clearly. He is pleading with his flock to live out their faith, for they are letting Satan get in and missing the joy they could have with the Lord and with one another.”
But even Paige said of James 3:13-4:1-2:
This feels like a brainstorming session on what’s wrong with Paige!
And yet, it is important. Turning a deaf ear to God’s Word is like refusing to have a splinter removed. If we are willing to go through the surgical pain, joyful healing will follow! To help you persist through the bulk of this lesson, I want to give you a preview of Paige’s beautiful closing.
Paige will tell a story of a husband about to confess great sin to his wife — thinking it may end their marriage. She tells him to come to the sofa and put his head on her breast. She will hold him while he confesses and afterward. Nothing he can tell her will change her love and commitment to him.
How like the story of Hosea! When God asked Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman, it was to show Israel how sin is not breaking a rule, but breaking His heart. Yet God also commanded Hosea to keep taking her back, keep speaking tenderly to her, and keep loving her. The following is a song based on Hosea 2:15-17. Watch it and imagine the Lord singing to you, pleading with you to turn from your evil desires of selfish ambition and the applause of the world, and return to Him.
The other story she tells is of saying good-bye to her beloved dying friend last Valentine’s Day. She whispered in her ear that she had changed her life by looking so lovingly at the Lord Jesus. That love was like a magnet to Paige. This brought me to tears, reminding me of my dear friend Ann Dahl who just went to be with Jesus. How she loved Him! And that was a magnet to me. Likewise, her husband Howie so loved Jesus and their marriage was one of the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen. That’s how our relationships with other believers can be if we receive this hard teaching of James this week. It ends with a great promise.
Click here to see Paige:
Thursday: Recognition of Worldiness
A. How have you thought of worldliness in the past?
B. If you watched halftime at the SuperBowl, what did you think of the He Gets Us ads?
C. What stood out to you from Dee’s opening to this week on her blog?
Watch Paige for about 21 minutes up to Recognize it In Our Longings
- Read James 3:13-18
A. How is true wisdom shown according to verse 13?
B. How is demonic wisdom evidence according to verses 14-15?
C. What does demonic wisdom produce according to verse 16.
D. Give an example of how envy or selfish ambition has produced disorder in your life.
E. What is the lie in Whitney Houston’s song “The Greatest Love of All?” (See it on youtube)
Friday: Recognize it in Our Longings
Watch about 20 minutes more up to Recognize it In our Loyalties.
2. Read James 4:1-2
A. What is the origin of fights and quarrels? (Do you remember how she said the word desire is hedoni? Significance?)
B. Think of a time when someone stood in the way of something you wanted. How did you react? (Paige compared herself to the fighters in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.) What examples did she give?
C. I was convicted by “aside assassinating comments.” Passive aggressive sideways comments. I have to check myself all the time — even in e-mail. Does anyone relate?
3. Read James 4:2-3
A. What two mistakes does James say we make in praying?
B. Paige said we fail to ask God to rescue us from our wrong desires. Do that here — either silently or in writing.
4. Read James 4:11-12
A. How do we place ourselves above God, the Lawgiver, when we judge another? What was her point when she said, “When my child needs consequences, you don’t get to give it to them.”
B. What examples did she give of being judgmental when looking at Christmas card pictures, or gossiping about others? Strike a chord in any way?
Saturday: Recognize it in Our Loyalties
Watch about 13 minutes up to Rescue from Worldliness
5. Read James 4:4-5
A. James calls putting other things above God as adultery. How does this word picture speak to you?
B. When you see God as an intruder into your time, money, entertainment, hobbies — what should that tell you? How does this diagnostic tool help you? Be specific.
C. Here are some other diagnostic tools — does the world love you? Do you feel like an alien (you should!) Are you aware of condensation? (What did she mean?) D.
D. What else stood out to you from her lecture so far?
God Hunt Sunday
6. How has God shown up in your life this week?
Monday: Rescue from Worldliness: Reposition and Repent!
Listen up to when she tells the story of the wife telling her husband to come and lay down with her as he confesses.
7. Read James 4:6-10
A. What beautiful word begins this section?
B. Find all the promises with the conditions in this passage. Take one and share how you have experienced it. We want specific illustrations.
C. Did you understand what she meant by the exchange that happens at a wedding? Mike Reeves says everything that is ours becomes His (our sin!) and everything that is His becomes ours! (His purity, His riches…) What does this mean to you? How does this fit with our understanding of being saved by faith?
8. Why does God resist the proud?
9. Give examples of how one has to work on their marriage to make it good. What application is there to our relationship with the Lord?
10. She told a story about a husband and wife. What was it? How does it relate to our relationship with the Lord?
11. What is so good about going low? Have you experienced this?
12. She quoted Thomas Chalmers who said that the love of the world cannot be expunged but only supplanted by the love of Him who is greater than all the world. Is that happening in your life?
13. She closed with a story of the death of her friend last Valentine’s Day. What do you remember and why?
14. What did I miss that you’d like to discuss?
14. What is your take-a-way and why?