NT Fire Starters – Day 323: James 4:13-5:20
READ: James 4:13–5:20
THINK: Most Christians view sin as the bad things in our lives we need to confess and give up for God, and the bad things we must continually avoid. But sin isn’t just the bad stuff we knowingly do; it is also a matter of the good stuff we knowingly neglect. Even the devil understands this, and one of his most potent strategies is to turn this principle against us, making us feel guilty for not doing enough. But guilt should never be your motivation for doing good. Love for God and a desire to help others know Him provides adequate inspiration for doing what you ought to do (4:1).
RESPOND: Why is it so important to spend time with God when making plans and setting goals for your life? (See 4:15 note.) When do people have a tendency to brag, and what are the false assumptions behind such an attitude? (See 4:16 note.) What does verse 17 say about someone who deliberately neglects the good he or she ought to do? (See 4:17 note.) In 5:1-6, what is James saying about the potential effects of wealth? (See 5:1 note.) What attitude should Christ’s followers have while waiting for His return? (See 5:7 note.) What does it mean, “The Judge is standing at the door.”? (See 5:9 note.) How would you define “perseverance”, and who are some Biblical examples of it? (See 5:11 note.) What does it mean to “let your “‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No,’ no, or you will be condemned”? (See 5:12 note.) What do verses 13-14 tell us to do in every circumstance–whether happy or in need of help? (See 5:13 note.) What is God’s invitation and instruction to us when we are in need of healing? (See 5:15 first note.) What is the key to effective prayer? (See 5:15 first note, sub points 3 & 4.) Why can it be important to confess our spiritual failures to other trustworthy Christians? (See 5:16 first note.) In what ways are the prayers of godly people “powerful and effective”? (See 5:16 second note.) What can Elijah’s example teach us about prayer and how God responds to it? (See 5:18 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you see and understand His will for specific aspects of your life. Ask God to help you recognize and do the good you ought to do. Pray that you always recognize God’s hand in your achievements so that you honor Him rather than yourself. Give Him the credit and praise for something He’s helped you accomplish recently.
ACT: Take an opportunity to publicly and sincerely give credit to God for something He helped you achieve. Do whatever good you have opportunity to do today. If you need prayer for a specific need, ask others to pray for you.