James Week 1 | Being Perfect |James 1:1-4 | April 23, 2017

Warm Up: Some have called the Book of James a beautiful punch in the gut! It’s a book about action, obedience, and living out our beliefs in practical ways. As your group begins this study, take a moment to invite the Holy Spirit to transform your lives through this study. James comes to you as a coach, even more than a teacher, and will challenge your group to use your hands, feet, money, and words to carry out God’s purposes. In short, “… don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” - James 1:22. 

  • Read aloud James 1:1-4. What changed in James’ life that prompted him not to introduce himself as the half-brother of Jesus but, rather, as a “slave of God”? Who were the original recipients of the letter?
  • The Hebrew pattern of following Jesus had more to do with “acting your way into right thinking” rather than “thinking your way into right acting,” which was the Greek pattern. Which of these does James model? How can this be instructive to us?  
  • Read James 1:1-4 again. Right out of the gate, James addresses the themes of “struggle, suffering, persecution, and trials,” that Christians inevitably face when following Jesus. 
  • What does James 1:2 teach us about these trials and how are we told to “meet them”? 
  • When it comes to trials, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” (v.2). Trials are not optional. They typically arise from one of the following: 1. Simply living in a Fallen world, 2. Foolishness of sin, 3. the Faithfulness of God, or 4. Taking a Faith stand for Jesus. What are some examples of how you have experienced one or more of these in your own life? (If your group is larger, break into groups of 2 or 3 to answer this question then come back together and share responses) 
  • Since we know that life is filled with trials and testings, preparation is key. What are some ways you have personally experienced solid preparation that enabled you to stand your ground in the midst of one of life’s storms? In what ways do you sense you need to be more prepared? (Scripture memory, more accountability, prayer, etc?)
  • Since trials are a something that everyone faces in life, spend some time thinking/sharing about a trial you are currently going through. How is God working through this trial? How has your faith changed since going through this time of hardship? (Again, if your group is larger, break up into smaller groups to discuss)

Wrap Up: James stresses the importance of enduring through the suffering we face because of the glorious result of perfection that comes when we do. Jesus, likewise, knew the great value of enduring through suffering. Read Hebrews 12:1-3. What was the “joy” that was “set before Him,” and how did this change His reaction to the impending suffering of the cross? How does this make you feel about the suffering that you face today?