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James 4:1-3 Discussion Guide


Activity: Give a summary of Job 1:1-19, then read these passages together.
Job 1:20-22
Job 9:20
Job 13:5
Job 42:5

Discuss these questions together:
1. What do you think/feel as you consider Job’s life?
2. What did Job believe about God, and did he hold to this belief even though he struggled?
3. What do we learn from God about prayer?

Question 1: Discuss Terry’s story of the friend whose daughter was protected from one car crash and then died in another. How did the friend demonstrate biblical faith in both thanking God for protection and trusting God in disaster?
Read: 4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasure.
Question 2: How would you summarize James’ main points/flow of his letter to this point?

Question 3: How does this passage fit into the larger context of the whole letter? Terry mentioned a few connections.

Question 4: How have you seen problems between you and others tied to competing desires in your own heart? (This doesn’t mean you take full blame, but what part has your heart played?)

Question 5: What do you feel when your goals are blocked by others?
(Ex. I want to be understood. I want to be agreed with. I want others to appreciate me. I want others to do what I want.)

Question 6: What are some of your strategies to deal with these blocked goals?
(Ex. Silent treatment. Harsh words. Self-pity. Judging them. Slander or gossip.)

Question 7: It’s hard to know your motives and impossible to have completely pure motives, do you think that is James’ main point in verse 3? If not, what is his point?

Read: Matthew 7:7 & 6:9-10

Question 8: Combine today’s passage with the two passages from Matthew and give a brief “theology of prayer”.

Read: “Although Churchill believed in an almighty, the role of the Supreme Being in his theology seems to have been primarily to look after the safety of Winston Churchill.” Roberts, Andrew. Leadership in War (p. 57). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition
Explain: Churchill was an influential, important human in history. This quote is not to pick on him but reflect on our own hearts.

Reflect: How have you allowed your own theology to become like Churchill’s? It may be subtle, but in your heart of hearts, do you believe that God exists for you rather than you existing for him? Or perhaps you don’t think this way, but choices you make reveal that you live this way practically.

Conclude: Confess your sins to God and one another. Not to feel shame but to be free.

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