Living Above Your Circumstances
Series Title: How Faith Works
Lesson Two: “Living Above Your Circumstances”
1. The first 12 verses of this letter describe a “scattered” or “dispersed” church. What had caused so many Christians to flee their Jerusalem homes? Read Acts 8:1ff; 11:19; 12:1-4.
2. What sort of disruption had this scattering of believers from their homes and families created for them? How discouraged do you think they would have been? Have you ever faced a similar situation of having your own life radically disturbed?
3. Does it strike you as a bit strange that James begins this letter with an appeal for his readers to “consider it pure joy” (NIV) to be in their situation? What is the difference between “happiness” and “joy”?
4. Why would prayer be necessary for James’ readers to find a reason to rejoice in their situation? What sort of wisdom comes only through prayer?
5. Name some of the stresses that you or persons you know are facing today. How can fellow Christians help one another through their times of testing?
This video quotes the following prayer from John Baillie, A Diary of Private Prayer (New York: Fireside, 1996), p. 101. Perhaps it is a prayer you will want to pray.
Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life today that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin.
Let me use disappointment as material for patience;
Let me use success as material for thankfulness;
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance;
Let me use danger as material for courage;
Let me use reproach as material for longsuffering;
Let me use praise as material for humility;
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance;
Let me use pains as material for endurance.