Curriculum

Dive Deeper

Advice from a Great Pastor (Part 1)

Rhordan Wicks

INTRODUCTION

One of the pillars of the early church, James led the church in Jerusalem for many years until he was tragically murdered. He was also known as a peacemaker who led with wisdom and courage. 

The book of James was written to the Jews dispersed around the Mediterranean and they were living in troubled times. The Christian Jews were persecuted by Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. At the start of his book, instead of the customary thanksgiving and greetings, he dived right in with this message, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2 NIV), suggesting that the church was facing significant trials.

Like them, today we are living in troubled times. Perhaps, we should take heed from this great pastor, who is challenging us to reframe our pain and evidence our faith by walking in certain ways.

DISCUSSION

  1. Trials have a way of revealing where our confidence lies. What has the COVID-19 crisis revealed about your confidence? How troubled are you by it?

  2. Read James 1:1-4.

    a. The word “patience/perseverance/steadfastness” in Jame 1:3 literally means “to remain under,” or “hyper-stand”. This word does not describe a passive waiting, but an active endurance, like a person holding up a heavy weight for a long period of time. Think of someone who lifts weights for exercise. What is the “full effect” of that person’s “perseverance?” What are some of the effects of our remaining steadfast under the weight of trials?

    b. Faith is tested through trials, not produced by trials. Trials reveal what faith we do have, not because God does not know how much faith we have, but to make our faith evident to ourselves and those around us.

    Recall a time when your faith was tested. What happened and how did you grow from that experience? What impact did your testimony make to people who knew about it? Share with your LifeGroup.


    c. James commands us to consider/count our difficult circumstances as all joy. Consider/count means to “
    to make up your mind concerning something”. We have a choice in how we view our circumstances. The choice we should make is to count trials as joy (in Greek means “supreme joy”).  And we come to this attitude not naturally but rather as a result of our specific knowledge about God. The more we understand about how God uses trials in our life to test us, the better prepared we will be to face them properly.

    James 1:3 says, “know that the testing of your faith…”. The Greek word for “know” is ginosko, which means to perceive properly or see things in the right way.

    Are you seeing the trials in your life the right way? Are you seeing God the right way?

WHAT WOULD YOU DO

The Bible is very clear that believers will face trials of many kinds. Just as our Lord was tested in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), so we too are called to endure trial in this life. However, the Bible also promises us that God will use our trials for our good, strengthening us and leading us to rely more fully on him. We need to reframe our pain and let perseverance finish its work. 

Take some time to reflect these questions. Share with a mature believer or with your LifeGroup via phone/Whatsapp/video chat.

  1. Identify what the pain has revealed inside of you.
  2. Keep hyper-standing or choose to remain steadfast.
  3. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? What would faith require you to do during this time?

MEMORY VERSE

“Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:3-4