It is good to have that friend or that mentor who lovingly questions us when needed. It keeps us honest. Unfortunately, people often find it easier to live in an echo chamber, surrounding themselves with others who think and behave exactly like them. Even worse, we can do this when we read the Bible, only seeing the sins that other people deal with—which makes us hypocrites. Rather, we should seek to be people who slow down, hear from God, and respond to His Word, as James encourages us to do.
Read James 1:19-21:
- How are James’s three commands in verse 19 related to one another?
- What do we communicate to other people when we don’t listen well or talk too much?
- Have you ever responded to a particular truth or command from God’s Word with resistance?
Read James 1:22-25:
- Why do we often “hear” and not “do” when it comes to Scripture?
- Compare and contrast the person in verses 23-24 and the person in verse 25. How can we be sure that we are the right kind of hearer?
- In what area of your life could you do a better job applying God’s Word rather than just listening to it?
Read James 1:26-27:
- Why does James say words are a test of true religion?
- Why do you think James singled out caring for orphans and widows as an example of faith in action?
Taking it Home:
- Is there an area of your life that you feel is segregated or “off limits”? Why are you reluctant to give this over to Jesus?
- If faith always expresses itself through love, then how would you characterize your faith right now?
- Do you have any friends who challenge you in a good and healthy way?
Additional Scriptures to Engage with this week:
- Matthew 7
- Proverbs 10
- Galatians 5
- 1 Peter 2
- Psalm 1
- Luke 11:37-12:3