Welcome to week five of our summer sermon series on James called Faith that Works. This week our conversation will look at how the conflicts of Christians can make Jesus look ridiculous. We look at what causes conflict, how bad it really is and how to move toward God instead.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share part of your story
Did your family have any July 4th traditions? What’s your favorite July 4th memory?
What does the prayer time portion of your Chair Time look like? What’s one thing your group can be praying about?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Read together James 4:1-10 aloud. Who is James and who is he writing to? What are the main ideas?
James says the people are arguing. Why might James be so worried about arguing?
James gives the reason why the people are arguing. What is it? Do you think this is the reason most arguments start today? Why or why not?
There is often a three-step process to a conflict. “I want something. I’m not getting it. Someone’s going to pay.” How have you seen these steps play out in those around you? How have you experienced these steps in your own life?
One of the challenges of not getting something we want is that we feel right about our response. We feel justified in venting or treating another poorly when we feel disrespected, belittled, dismissed or dishonored by them. Why do you think it is easy to feel justified in the way we respond? When have you found yourself feeling that way?
Though we might feel justified—that doesn’t mean we are. What are some ways we can work to get a good perspective and not lash out?
James uses relatively strong language to get his point across. What feelings do we typically associate with adultery? Why do you think James picks that word?
The Old Testament often connects the image of adultery and the practice of idolatry. What’s the connection between them? Why do you think James says a friend of the world is an enemy of God?
In his book, Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller writes, “An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.’” What do you think about this statement? What are some common idols in our culture?
Everybody has something that could take the place of God in their life. What are some things that are or could become idols in your life? What are some habits you can develop to help keep those things in their proper place?
James 4:7-10 gives some actions for the believers to do. What are they? Why do you think James tells the people to do those things?
The word “favor” in James 4:6 is about grace. There are two types of grace. There is the grace that forgives you and the grace that forms you. What’s the difference between the two and why are both important?
When we get to the point where we don’t want to live driven by our desires anymore, James tells us how to change. God moves toward us when we move towards him. What happens to those who humble themselves before God? How have you experienced this in your own life?
Humility is a move toward God. How can you take a step to move away from your idols and humble yourself before God this week?
Today’s conversation was about where our conflict comes from, how bad it really is and a solution for moving toward God. Where were you most challenged today? What’s one next step you can take this week to continue to grow and embrace the grace that forms you?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
Last week we asked you to identify one place that your group could serve together (collectively) this summer? If you met last week, revisit that conversation. If you did not meet, talk about ideas together and then take a step to put something on the calendar, designate a point person, and live out a faith that works.
Download a printable PDF here.