8.18.19 - Love Works Out (Kenny Camacho)
SCRIPTURE: James 1:1-18; 2:14-26
James’s letter begins by encouraging persecuted Christians to allow “steadfastness” to “finish its job” in them. But what is that job? And (for that matter) what is “steadfastness”? We want to begin our series by considering that the challenges we go through are similar to the trials of a new invention: God is hard at work shaping us into the people we are intended to be, and as he makes changes in our hearts, those changes are tested in the lives we have all been given to live. By avoiding the repetition of the same old mistakes, being open to change, and committing to live out our faith in our actions, we are able to participate in God’s work of refinement, embodying the “steadfastness” James talks about and “working out” our faith in a way that brings us closer to God and to one another.
Describe a time in your life when you felt you were being “tested.” What were the circumstances? What was the end result? Looking back, do you feel like this experience caused you to grow in any specific ways?
James says that testing and trials in our lives produces steadfastness...and that steadfastness leads eventually to being “complete and faultless, deficient in nothing.” What do you think of this equation?
On Sunday, Kenny said there was a difference between questions, which involve looking for an answer, and doubts, which propose there isn’t one. Did that distinction make sense to you? How does this distinction affect the way you think about James 1:5-8?
James 2:14-26 is a famously controversial passage, in which James says that “faith without works is dead.” Read through the passage together. What do you think James is saying here about the relationships between faith and works?
James 2:14-17 offer one practical example of how some beliefs are impossible not to act on...if we really take them seriously. What are some practical ways that you can put your beliefs about God to the test this week? If we take seriously what James says...what habits in our lives might really need to change?