Many people want to follow Christ…but it’s not the easy journey we think it should be. Pressure to conform, difficult seasons, overwhelming circumstances, painful experiences, and staggering temptations can make our glorious journey with Christ downright messy. These moments can cause us to walk along the path, hesitantly…even reluctantly at times. But God uses these painful moments, these difficult seasons, to not only demonstrate His power, but to accomplish His purpose in our live. -Pastor Dave
Open: Describe a moment when you were reluctant in your Christian walk: What made you reluctant? What was the result?
Read: James 1:1-4; Mark 3:20-21; Matthew 13:55-57; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7; 1 Peter 4:12-13
1. Give some examples of circumstances that cause Christians to be reluctant or hesitant in their faith: What do you find similar about each of these examples? How do trials and suffering cause many Christians to be reluctant in their walk with Christ?
2. Who is James? How does being the half-brother of Jesus give him a unique perspective to write the reluctant Jewish churches? In what ways did James experience hesitancy in his faith journey? How did he become the leader of the Jewish Church?
3. James is specifically writing to the Jewish Church. What were the circumstances facing the Jewish Church that led James to write this letter?
4. James begins this letter with an unnatural response to trials. He tells them to “count it all joy.” How do you respond to James’ exhortation? Does it seem fair? Possible? How do you normally respond to hard times?
5. Is James’ promise of steadfastness compelling to you? Does it seem worth it? Why or why not? If you made this the “goal of your life,” to grow in holiness even if it meant suffering, how would that change your life? What decisions would you make differently? How would you have to adjust your priorities?
Pray: Pray that in whatever difficult circumstance you might be facing or will face that you would have supernatural joy and trust in God’s sovereign plan.
Memorize/Meditate: Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 O