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We are taking a break for the summer until futher notice.

Week 8 - Day 1

Review James 4:1-3, and read James 4:4-10.

1. James’ tone here is very harsh. Contrast the term he uses to address his audience here with those you find as you scan the book. Look again at the message of 4:4-10. Why may he use harsh terminology here?

We read 4:4 literally and wonder if there is a lot of adultery going on in the churches to which James writes, but the rest of the verse helps us see that this is spiritual adultery rather than physical adultery.

2. Look up the following verses to help you understand the biblical background for the use of this term in a spiritual sense. Write down your insights.
a. Isa. 54:5-6—addressed to Israel
b. Jer. 3:20
c. Mt. 12:38-39

What does it mean to be the “world’s friend” (4:4)? Keddie has a great explanation:

“Friendship with the world,” then, is when these inner desires and motives are in harmony with those of the world that does not know and does not want to know God. It is when we seek what the world seeks, when we want the riches that fade away, when we hunger for the praise of men that God says is a snare, when we much prefer the pleasures of ‘the old man with his affections and lusts’ to the righteousness of Christ—it is then that we know we are friends with the world and would rather not be distracted or interfered with by the God of the Bible.

3. Now, explain James 4:4 in your own words as if you were explaining it to a friend who is confused.

4. Read these verses and write down how Israel’s adultery in the Old Testament times made God feel, knowing He must feel the same way when His New Testament people are not loyal to Him.
a. Jer. 2:11-13
b. Mt. 23:37-39

Because James 4:5 is a very difficult verse in Greek, it has been translated in varying ways. Moo helps us understand the two major ways of understanding this verse: “1. James is referring to God’s jealousy for his people: ‘God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’ (NRSV). 2. James is referring to the human tendency to be envious; the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely (NIV).”

As you can see, these are two very different ideas. Read each with the first part of James 4:6. In the first idea, the greater grace is the ability that God gives us to overcome sin. If the second is correct, James is saying that God’s grace is sufficient to help us remain loyal to God alone.

Stronger Jeans (optional): Read any commentaries or study notes in a study Bible for further insight into James 4:5-6. Write down your thoughts about which translation you tend to accept based on the context.

5. Responding to God: Spend time with God asking Him to show you any disloyalty toward Him in your life. Are you the “world’s friend” in any way? Reread Keddie’s explanation on the previous page. Spend time before God just listening to what He says. Confess your disloyalty before Him and consider how you have made Him feel. Thank Him for His greater grace. Write down what He says to you.

6. Sharing Question: Share one thing with your small group that God showed you in your time with Him. Write down something that you intend to change because of it.

6 comments:

Twisting His Arm said...

Okay… this is SO silly but I am being honest. Me and the hubby are X-Files fans so we decided to watch ALL 9 seasons from beginning to end. I assumed we would watch a few episodes a week but the hubby wanted to watch a few episodes a night to finish them quicker. So instead of reading the stack of Christian books on my nightstand, I have been spending my evenings watching X-Files. It averaged out to be around 2 hours per night. To the U.S. standards that may not be a lot but that is WAY too much for a family trying to grow in Christ! We finally finished the series last week and have agreed to start reading at night and watch TV occasionally.

Anonymous said...

I can relate. I now understand that time as spiritual adultery. Thank you for sharing, it really opened my eyes.
Elisa

Sohl Gal said...

Chris, I have been struggling with the same thing, only it's 24. My husband, too, wants to watch it. I know I should say no, but then I feel like I'm going against the spiritual guide of the family. I'm taking my time with Him during the day, and I want to have a time as a couple to grow, as well. How do I say that, and be respectful of his role as the leader? Or, do I say nothing, and keep watching until it's over?

Web Bible Babes said...

My hubby likes 24 also! We actually have a few seasons on dvd but he hasn't suggested watching it yet. I think watching it a couple times a week is fine, just not a couple times a night like we were doing. Maybe ya'll can compromise. My hubby wouldn't compromise but I think he now knows it was too WAY much.

Web Bible Babes said...

Oooops! I meant to publish the above comment under Twisting his arm. :-)

jjdsc said...

This is actually a point of contention between my husband and I. We both like Sci-fi but I have moved away from it and have been reading instead. Now, he watches at night and I read. We need prayer!