My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
(James 1:19, NIV)
Another one of those verses that is easy to understand what James is calling us to do … it is just much harder to actually do it.
How well do you listen? Why would listening be a challenge for people?
Publilius Syrus is quoted as saying: “I often regret that I have spoken; never that I have been silent.” When have you found this to be true in your own life?
Why do we become angry and what things can we do to NOT react in anger? What things help you be slower in angry?
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4.17, NIV)
“Submit yourself to God”
Where do you discover those things you are to do versus those things you are to not do? What set of criteria are you using to determine this?
Why do people so often do things they know they shouldn’t do? Why does the knowledge of what they SHOULD do not prevent them from doing it?
What things do you know you should be doing … but are not? How can you do those things today?
Ezekiel 39.1-40.27; James 2.18-3.18; Psalm 118.1-18; Proverbs 28.2
It slips up on even the best of us … one careless word spoken in haste, without thought. The end result, however, can be disastrous. Perhaps even life-changing. How have you seen a word spoken in haste change lives forever? How do you work to ensure you “tame” your tongue?
How does God’s blessings or punishment show his glory to other people?
In what ways is your faith so strong that good deeds are a result?
What reasons do you have to give thanks to the Lord?
How do wise and knowledgable leaders bring stability?
Ezekiel 35.1-36.38; James 1.1-18; Psalm 116.1-19; Proverbs 27.23-27
One of the biggest challenges any of us who follow Jesus faces is the struggle to reconcile how bad things happen to us, even when we are seeking to follow him as closely as possible. It would seem our lives would get better … and easier when we follow him. James writes when we face troubles, we should consider it joy. Say what!? What we discover is that as with most things, our faith grows when challenged and stretched. Facing troubles? Know you have an opportunity for growth!
Why would it be important for God to give the people of Israel–and us–a new heart and a new spirit?
When was the last time you asked God for wisdom?
How well do you realize that God hears you? Does your life demonstrate love for him as a result?
How well do you care for those you are able to influence and help follow God more?