Conflict is inevitable. Most of the time conflicts center on people. But people aren’t the problem; they only reveal the problem. Actually, our conflicts have a deeper foe, God. Within most personal conflicts, we are actually trading the greater victory God has already accomplished for us for the small victories of selfish desires. - Pastor Dave
Open: Describe a time you experienced difficult conflict: How did you handle it? What was the conclusion?
Read: James 4:1-10; John 17:20-21; Romans 12
1. What have been some of the biggest conflicts in your life? Why? In what ways does our individualistic society cause conflict instead of helping get rid of conflict? In what ways do we have a tendency to blame others for every conflict? How is this seen in the Christian world? Is the following statement true, “Being a Christian actually opens us up to more conflict, because we don’t have a label that says, ‘This is our type of people.’ In essence, because Christianity doesn’t exclude people, it involves moments of conflict.” Explain:
2. What was creating conflict in James’ context? What does James describe as the initiator of conflict? Are desires, pleasures, and pursuits naturally wrong? How do they become harmful when it comes to our relationships? What types of desires does James describe?
3. What does it mean that God “yearns jealously” over us? How is this different than our jealousy? How should this be our greatest challenge and yet our greatest comfort?
4. How does grace help us to confront our areas of conflict? What does it mean to humble ourselves and receive grace? Describe how grace reminds us of the victory over the conflicts on earth:
5. Describe the process of humility through the commands of James 4:7-10: Which one stands out to you the most? How does this demonstrate victory through surrender? How does knowing that we have victory in Christ release us from having to win every earthly conflict?
Pray: Pray that you would experience and submit to God’s grace in your relationships and community.
Memorize/Meditate: But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6