Walk This Way
Week 3: James 1:19-27
The walk of faith that James teaches us to walk is not random or aimless. God’s goal for our lives is maturity. Maturity looks like Jesus. Thinking like Jesus, doing like Jesus, and having the character of Jesus. What are some signposts on the road to maturity? You know you are maturing when you speak less and listen more. You know you are maturing when it takes longer to make you angry than it used to. You know you are maturing when you are no longer satisfied to just hear what God says. You actually crave putting your faith into action. You know you are maturing when you look more and more like Jesus who could wade into the dark places of his culture to help the helpless, and yet remain holy and unstained by the world. So … do you see the signs that you are on the right track? Are you moving forward on this road to maturity?
What are some things a two year old does that a mature adult would not? How about a teenager?
Getting into the Text:
1. (James 1:19-21) Why are speaking and listening such good indicators of spiritual maturity? What is James’ opinion of anger as a mechanism for doing good in the world? What does it mean to “receive with meekness the implanted word”? (See also Mark 4:14-20.)
2. (James 1:22-25) In what sense do we deceive ourselves when we do not act on what we hear? What do you think James has in mind by the term “law” here? (See also Jeremiah 31:31-33 and Galatians 5:13-14.)
3. (James 1:26-27) A dependence on religious practices is often contrasted with salvation by grace in the New Testament. Do you think James is thinking of “religion” as a positive or negative thing here? What positive value can religious acts have for someone saved by grace? Why do you think that James chooses the specific examples in these verses as things that God finds pure and acceptable?
4. Based on James 1:19-27, describe some of the differences between someone who is immature in their faith vs. someone who is maturing.
1. Becoming quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger takes intentional effort and practice on our part. Which of these characteristics do you need to work on the most? We don’t always realize when we are falling short in one of these areas until someone points it out to us. Who is someone you trust who could give you some honest feedback and help you to grow in this?
2. James encourages us to be doers and not just hearers of the word. In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus said that doing what he says, and not just hearing, will also prepare us for the storms of life to come, those trials mentioned in James 1:2 and 12. And enduring through trials will mature you even more. Are there things you have heard in a sermon or read in God’s word over the last weeks or months that you felt convicted about but have not yet put into practice? What steps can you take to make sure you act on what you have heard?