As we wait on God to show up in our lives… Sometimes seemingly as slow as Christmas… We wonder, does God really have a plan? And if so, how can I get in on it? We usually have a hammer-like approach to approaching God’s plan, but James, the brother of Jesus, offers us a different approach, and a different perspective on what God may just be up to in our lives.
If you are the discussion leader in your group, be sure to have everyone open to this page on their mobile devices. Remind your group that this discussion is based on Sunday’s message, and that if they miss a message, they can always listen in via our podcast. If you subscribe, you will never miss one, because they will always be delivered right to your device as soon as they are published! Take turns reading and asking the questions below.
Have you ever experienced a long period of time in your life where you didn’t hear from God?
I am not talking about those ones where everything is going smoothly, so you just ignore God… I mean those where there is a disaster, and you don’t know which way to turn… And God doesn’t seem to know or care. Have you had THOSE?
What did you think about the idea that we “pray like a hammer?” Is that true of us in our trials? How do you see that happen?
James has a different approach for us on that, though:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
What does this mean for us?
After James wrote these words, Paul wrote something similar… Verse 28 is a very famous promise from God that Christians around the world love to claim. But what does verse 29 give as the goal of God’s work in us?
We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
What does it mean to “become like his Son?”
How does that match up to the goal as stated by James, below?
So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
In the context of “becoming like his Son,” what does “perfect and complete” look like?
So, are we there yet? Think about it one second… How close are you to being perfectly and completely like His Son? Do you still have some room to grow? What does that mean God still has in store for you?
Why does God choose to use difficulty (trials) in our lives to do this work? Why not just miraculously make us “perfect and complete?”
What does Ephesians say about this?
We are GOD’S masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
The word here for “masterpiece” is the Greek word poiema. It is the Greek word that we derive the word “poem” from. So, If God is the master artist, then we are his masterpiece work of art… What does this mean?
What does an artist go through to complete a masterpiece?
The last part of that verse says that this is “so we can do the good things he planned for us…” In other words, the masterpiece says something about the master, right? So, how do we better reflect the master artist in our trials?