Mountains & Valleys – Joy & Trial

Small Group Questions from March 11th

  1. Read James 1.1-8 together.

    James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 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. 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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

  2. Let’s take a look at this passage one section at a time. Read verse 2 again… Question: “Pure joy” & “Trials of many kinds” – How in the world do those two phrases even belong in the same sentence? What tends to be your prevailing emotion during life’s trials?
  3. Look at verses 3&4. James gives us a reason for joy. The trials, he says, are worth it because we gain perseverance. Why is it worth it? What do we gain with a greater dosage of perseverance? When have you seen this to be true in your life?
  4. In verse 4, we see some rather incredible promises….”maturity & completion,” “lacking nothing.” Are these the goals of following Jesus? Do you think, in following Jesus, we’re more interested in what God can give us or how God can change us? What about God’s goal with us? What does He want?
  5. Read verse 5 again. WISDOM, right? So when you’re in a pit or a valley, is it your first inclination to pray for wisdom or do you pray that God will change your circumstances? (There isn’t anything wrong with asking God to change our circumstances…) So the question is this: Why pray for wisdom at all? What does God have in mind that we usually don’t?
  6. Look at verse 6,7,&8.  The temptation here is the read these three verses as a vendetta again doubt of any kind at any time. Instead, the question is this: When you find yourself in a valley and you begin to loose your connection to Jesus, how does that work out for you? What is life like at that moment? And here’s the opposing question: When you find yourself in a valley and you cling tightly to Jesus, how does that work out? What is life like at that moment?
  7. Finish with prayer. Pray for each other, and pray especially for those in your group who are facing a valley now. Pray for God’s wisdom and His strength to persevere.
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