Our modern culture continually bombards us with the message that we are the sole masters of our lives. From “follow your dreams” to “do what makes you happy,” the mantra of self-rule has become deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. By contrast, James urges us to resist the allure of worldly values, to draw closer to God, and to purify our hearts. We were created to live under God’s authority. As we humble ourselves before Him, acknowledging His sovereignty and seeking His guidance, we discover a deeper level of intimacy and purpose. This passage challenges us to examine the motivations behind our actions and to recognize the harmful effects that arise when we prioritize our own ambitions above all else. It’s an opportunity for introspection and an invitation to realign our hearts with God’s will.
Other Scriptures to Engage with this week:
- Luke 9:18-27
- Isaiah 55
- 1 John 2:7-17
- Proverbs 16:1-9
- Micah 6
- Colossians 3:1-17
Use SOAP through the summer
Growth Groups take a break during the summer months, so we don’t have specific discussion questions for these Engage passages. Instead, we encourage you to use the SOAP Method (Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer). It’s a systematic way to engage with the Bible, encouraging personal reflection, spiritual growth, and a deeper understanding of Scripture. The tabs below will explain each step and offer some specific guidance and questions to ask as you reflect on the Scriptures.
Pray before you begin asking God to help you understand and apply what you read. Read the passage through once or twice before moving on to observation.
Consider any of these as you study the passage:
- Unpack the passage by answering who, what, where, when, why and how.
- Look for words that stand out to you or are repeated throughout the passage.
- List the characters involved and write out what you learn about them.
- Write out the passage in your own words.
- List any question you have about the passage.
Summarize the truth of this passage in your own words. Then ask yourself, is there some area of my life where this truth is needed?
- Is there an example for me to follow?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a sin to avoid?
- Is there a verse to memorize?
- Is there a promise to claim?
Write out a brief prayer to close your study:
- Tell God what you learned in his Word.
- Commit to applying the truths you learned in this passage.