James: Two Ways to Live Life
We have a choice as to what perspective, what paradigm, we’re going to live life with. The two possible orientations in life, the two possible ways to live life, are very different from one another. In fact, they have very different values, different origins, and very different results in how we live life.
Join Pastor Larry McCall in James 3:13-18 as we look at two kinds of wisdom.
1. As a group, read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. Why does the message of the gospel (or of “the cross”) seem like “folly” or “foolishness” to people who have not been converted? Yet Paul calls the message of a crucified Jesus the “wisdom of God.” How might you explain that to a non-believer? In other words, how is a call to worship a bloody, tortured, forsaken, seemingly weak man actually God’s “wisdom?!”
From our passage from James for this week, Pastor Larry pointed out that James, much like Paul did in 1 Cor. 1, discusses two types of wisdom…“wisdom from hell” and “wisdom from heaven.”
2. Wisdom From Hell: “Jealousy” and “selfish ambition” are repeated terms in this passage—both said to be part of the “wisdom from hell.” How have you seen those two traits creep into your own life (either pre-conversion or since)? How have you seen those lead to “disorder” or other “vile practices?”
3. Wisdom From Heaven: James lists several traits of the “wisdom from heaven”—ways that it shows up in the lives of those who possess it. Do you see some of these traits of “heavenly wisdom” in your life? Are there some deficient traits in your life? Why does this type of wisdom (and the corresponding way of living) lead to “peace” rather than “disorder?”
4. PRAYER INITIATIVE: Check in with your group about their involvement in praying for our community and sharing the gospel with our neighbors.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (ESV)