When my daughter was young, we were doing a puzzle together. She had two of the pieces reversed and was struggling to make them fit. Finally, she grew frustrated enough to ask for help. I told her to switch the pieces and try them again. In 4-year-old style, she ignored my advice and continued to struggle. Finally, she dissolved into frustrated tears and asked what was wrong.
I said, “I already told you the solution, but you don’t believe me.”
“I believe you, Mommy,” she answered in a tone of utter bewilderment, “but it’s not true.”
Sometimes that’s exactly how we respond to our heavenly Father.
God has identified the real problem in our lives: our sinful, broken, rebellious hearts. God has also identified the only solution: faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. But sometimes we still say “I believe you, Father, but it’s not true.”
We easily deceive ourselves. James uses three different words for “deceived” in chapter 1 (vs 16, 22 and vs 26). He is sounding the warning: Don’t be deceived. Don’t be taken in by lies, delusions and falsehoods or tempted to believe a different story.
In James 1:19-27, he tells us how we should respond. The real issue is how are you going to respond to this message? Are you willing to hear God out?
Discussion Questions – James 1:19-27
- James gives three commands in vs 19: “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Do you think he’s being unrealistic? How do we obey these?
- Do you think there is a biblical distinction between “good anger” and “bad anger”? Why or why not? What causes each type?
- Compare and contrast the “doers” and “hearers” in this passage. How do you recognize the difference?
- Why do you think we so easily stand before the mirror of Scripture without being changed or seeing ourselves clearly?
- How would you finish this sentence: “True religion consists of these three things –“? Or “True religion does not require these three things –“?
- Summarize James chapter 1 in your own words.