“Real Authentic Faith"

[Week 2]

James 1:19-27

Verse of the Week

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

[James 1:22 NIV]

 

The Problem

As we talked about last week, James is writing to Jewish believers that have been scattered. These Christians were in the process of walking away from a religious system that valued rules and order. In order to be considered ‘righteous,’ it was advantageous to look better than the people around you (think about the Pharisees). James, however, offers a different perspective.

 

A religious spirit leads to pride, and pride leads to anger. James will later write more in depth about this in 4:1-3. James’ audience apparently struggled with this issue, so he gives them a 3-pronged approach to combating anger and therefore pride: (Vs. 19)

  1. Be QUICK to LISTEN

  2. Be SLOW to SPEAK

  3. Be SLOW to BECOME ANGRY

 

**Share a story of a time when, if this advice was followed, it would have gone a lot better for you.**

 

Even though this is good and helpful advice, James moves on to address a deeper root issue: not taking God’s word seriously.

 

The Solution

James challenges his audience to not only listen to the word, but to do what it says. This is done by humbly accepting God’s word.

 

But how does this work practically? James gives the example of someone who looks into the mirror, walks away, and immediately forgets what they look like. Imagine the foolishness of this situation! The very purpose of looking into a mirror is to see what you look like and adjust anything if necessary. Yet this is exactly where we find ourselves when we do not humble ourselves under God’s word.

 

**Discuss with your group why you think humility is an important step in following Jesus and obeying Scripture.**

The Fruit

All of this information begs the question: How do we know if we are truly following Jesus and scripture, or if we are “Deceiving ourselves (vs. 22; 26)”? A helpful indicator is examining the fruit of our lives and actions.

 

Consider vs. 26. The fruit of a life lived with a religious spirit is what you might expect: Uncontrolled speech leading to gossip, insults and anger.

 

Now take a look at vs. 27, a life lived from humble obedience (pure and faultless religion) leads to a life of compassion (i.e. Looking after orphans and widows), and moral purity.

 

**Galatians  5:19-23 provides a similar contrasting list of the life lived by a religious spirit and a life led by humble obedience. Read these passages and compare them to what James says in vs 26-27. Discuss what you learned from this comparison.**

Question Bank
 

  1. How has your week been spiritually?
     

  2. What is God teaching you in this passage?
     

  3. Does the ‘fruit’ of your life look more like a religious spirit, or humble obedience?
     

  4. What’s your next step in your relationship with God?

Call to Action

  • Share your next step with 1 person inside or outside of group and invite them to hold you accountable.
     

  • Talk about Group with at least 1 person.