Chapter 4 – The Book of James ~ A Bible Study for Families
(from The Message Translation)
By Allison T. Cain
Just in case you missed the past few weeks (Chapter 1, 2 & 3) go back and start there – – – – Just a reminder: I have written this study using The Message translation to make it easier for children to comprehend. However, as you go along please read the text from your favorite and more traditional translation (we like the NIV). You can break this up by chapter or by verses. Do whatever is best for you and your family. I pray the lessons in the book of James will be absorbed in all of our hearts as we study it together.
Chapter 4 – Get Serious
1-2 Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.
Have you ever stopped to consider why wars begin or people get into fights? What do you think starts them?
What reason does James give for others fighting?
Have you ever wanted something that wasn’t yours? (i.e. a toy, house, shoes) What was it? Did you ever try to take it from the person who had it or convince someone to give it to you?
Look up the ten commandments (Exodus 10). What is the 10th commandment? To covet is to want something someone else has.
2-3 You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
When we want things others have James calls us “spoiled children”.
Talk about wants and needs. What’s the difference between the two? Give some examples of each.
4-6 You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”
When we act like spoiled children, who are we cheating (v.4)?
We are cheating God and He becomes our E___________.
How would it feel to know that God is your enemy?
7-10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
James tells us how to stay close to God so He can work in us. What should we yell at the Devil when he tries to get us to move in the wrong decision?
What else could you say to him?
We are supposed to yell at the Devil, but we are supposed to w___________ to God and he’ll be there. Think about it, when you do you whisper to someone? When they are far away or very close? God is always close to us. So close, we only need to whisper to Him.
Why do you think James tells us to get serious and get on our knees (v.10) so you can get up on your feet? Do you talk to God on your knees?
11-12 Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?
James mentions the Royal Rule again in these verses. Do you remember what it is?
Who can you choose to love as yourself this week? How are some ways you will show them?
Nothing but a Wisp of Fog
13-15 And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”
Do you or your family ever make plans to do things together? James reminds us that we should seek God in all our decisions and seek His plans for us because He is the only one who knows our future.
When you have a decision to make, do you ever ask God for guidance?
When we make plans without considering God’s will for us do you think we are being selfish or faithful? Why?
16-17 As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.
James tells us that self-importance (selfishness) is E_____________. If we know the right thing to do and don’t do it that is evil too.
Have you ever done something you knew you shouldn’t? Did anyone find out? Did you ask forgiveness?
Close by praying together that God will give you the strength and wisdom to push the Devil aside and to seek God’s wisdom and direction in all you do.