Start Up

There is a lot of anger and discontentment in the world and in our own lives. What is the cause of it? James gets very practical and serious as he talks about a difficult topic: our inner frustrations with life. What he will tell us is we often misdiagnose the cause of discontentment in our world. He’s going to tell us the problem is actually much simpler and deeper than we tend to think.

  • What has been a past message in our “Life Hacks” series that has stuck with you? Share with the group and explain why you chose this message.
  • Have you ever self-diagnosed yourself through something like WebMD? Has there ever been a time where you got really scared or anxious only to find out it was a misdiagnosis once you saw a doctor? Share with the group.
  • James is about to talk about how there are “fights and quarrels” among us in the world. Where do you see most fights and quarrels in our world today?

 

Discuss Together

Read James 4:1-10 together.

  • In verses 2-4, James uses three words that are also found in the Ten Commandments. Can you find them? Do you think this connection is intentional, and if so, why?
  • Is James saying in verse 4 we shouldn’t be friends with non-Christians? If not, what is he saying? How would someone know if they are being friends with the world?
  • Greg talked about how most of us treat conflict at a surface level—we attribute it to our circumstances (i.e., “He did this, she did that, he stole my idea, she didn’t give me credit”). How does James say conflict goes to a much deeper level? What is James’ main point?
  • Greg said he has discovered different “appetites” within him—desires that are never fully satisfied and that always leave him fighting for more. He said he has reputation appetites, recognition appetites, acceptance appetites, financial appetites, and so on. Have you noticed appetites within yourself? Where and when do you find yourself having the strongest appetites? Share with the group.
  • James moves from talking about conflict with one another and within each of us to humility. How are these topics related?
  • There tends to be a lot of confusion around what it means to be humble. How would you define the word, “humility”? In what way do you see people (or yourself) getting confused about it?
  • What does it take to be a truly humble person? Is there someone you know who does this well? Share with the group.
  • How much peace would you say you have in your relationships right now? Is there a particular place that feels less than peaceful (i.e., at work, at home, at school, in your neighborhood, or in your extended family)?
  • After listening to Greg’s message and from this discussion, is there a way you need to live a more “upside-down” life (where you give up your rights for the sake of others) that could help bring more peace in your relationships or in our world?
  • Greg said humble people have confidence in their identity in God based on His grace. If you are honest, how confident are you that your identity is in God? What would it take to become more confident?

Take Away

  • What is one relationship in your life you wish was less quarrelsome and more peaceful? Think of one step you can take to live “upside-down” with them this week.
  • What is one way this week you can ground your identity more in the grace and truth of God?