Curriculum

Dive Deeper

Under Pressure (Part 1)

Rhordan Wicks

INTRODUCTION

As we enter the new year, it’s time to take stock of the pressures we are facing or may face – be it academic, relational, health, financial or work pressures. In this first series of the year, we are looking at the book of James and how we can build ourselves God’s way so that we thrive under pressure. 

James 1:2 exhorts us to “Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials” (James 1:2 AMP). Whether we are currently facing a trial, have just come out of a trial or are heading towards a trial, they are common to our human experience, and learning how to handle them God’s way will move us towards the joy James speaks of. And what is the key for us as we experience the trials that 2023 will bring? Pursuing wisdom. 

God’s purpose for life’s pressures is to make us wise. We may have a lot of knowledge, but wisdom means we understand the right application of that knowledge. In this first part of our series, we learned about Biblical wisdom and what it looks like, and how we can pursue wisdom.

DISCUSSION

  1. Share with your group an example of someone you think of as very wise. What makes them seem wise? 

  2. Read James 1:5.

    a. In the context of chapter 1, when is James calling us to ask God for wisdom?

    b. How will God respond?

    c. What does that tell you about who God is?

  3. Biblical wisdom operates in predictable patterns. Read Proverbs 8, a proverb on the value of wisdom.

    a. What do you find surprising or interesting about the way wisdom is described in this chapter?

    b. Read Proverbs 8:22-31. How long has wisdom been around? What does that tell you about God?

    c. We have listed some predictable patterns below that God has built into our world. How can you apply wisdom after knowing these patterns? For example the pattern of gravity, it would be unwise to jump out of your 10-storey window, thinking you can fly.

    (i) The order of time – We all have the same number of hours in a day. The sun will rise and set on schedule no matter what may be happening on earth.

    (ii) The patterns in human relationships – Forgiveness and reconciliation, peacemaking and truth-telling are patterns built into human relationships to bring stability.

    Can you list other predictable patterns that God has designed to bring order into this world and how have you been wise in applying these patterns?

  4. Biblical wisdom follows a practised path. We need to learn how and when to apply the rules. Consider Biblical leaders and how they managed pressure. Pick one of the following examples and share how they applied wisdom:

    a. Joseph in Genesis 45. Bonus discussion to include Genesis 42-44.

    b. Early church leaders in Acts 15.

    c. Moses in Exodus 17.

    d. Jesus in Matthew 12:1-8.

  5. Biblical wisdom looks like prudent parenting. Under pressure, God stretches our capacity, growing us in wisdom. God wants to parent us in wisdom.

    a. How has God used pressures in the past to shape your faith?

    b. Think about a pressure you are currently facing. How might God be using it to stretch you in wisdom?

WHAT WILL YOU DO

Our call to action this week is to:

  1. Pray daily for wisdom – God may answer our request for wisdom by increasing the pressure, but let’s embrace the process and allow God to grow us in His wisdom. 

  2. Ponder over His Word – Next, spend the rest of the month spending time in God’s Word. Recommended teachings on wisdom would be either the book of James or the book of Proverbs (conveniently 31 chapters long, so we can read a proverb a day for the month).

  3. Practise wisdom – Finally, as we face pressures in our lives, let’s practise wisdom. Instead of jumping into the situation with human solutions, let’s pause and seek God’s wisdom for the pressure and then follow his lead. 

MEMORY VERSE

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5