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Book of James: Study 1 -- Resolutions

By Fiona Soltes | Fiona Soltes is a freelance writer living in Nashville, Tennessee. | December 18 2009
This is the first of 13 sessions looking at selected passages from the Book of James. Click here to read the introduction and for an overview.

Session One

The calendar turns, and suddenly in floods new hope. Perhaps this will be the year, you tell yourself, that things will be different. This will be the year to work harder, do better in school or at work, have better relationships, exercise, eat less or pray every single day. Why not? We've all got areas in which we can improve. The biggest challenge, however, is in believing it's still possible when the New Year gleam fades and all that's left is the actual work.

Have you noticed any of your youth talking about resolutions? Some will make them every year, spurred on by the idea of a "fresh start." Others will defeat themselves even before they begin, wondering if real change is possible. The good news is that with God, it absolutely is. The even better news is that it's not a matter of "making it happen." It's more a matter of allowing it to happen through faith, trust and dependence on the guidance of the Lord.

For the next 13 weeks, we'll be taking a weekly walk through selected texts in the Book of James. Some have called it a "how-to" for Christian living. It evens tells us in James 2:17, that faith without deeds is dead. On closer inspection, though, we discover the book is packed with wisdom that is more about freedom than about rules and confinement. So let's dive in, shall we? All that awaits is a richer understanding of what it means to live a life of authentic faith—one that allows all of those other things we'd like to see improve to fall into place.

What the Word Says:

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom" (James 3:13).

How It Applies:

Many of us strive for a good life or for the chance to be better people. As Christians, we often get it backwards. Rather than living lives of grace, compassion and love out of the overflow of what God extends to us first, we try to muster it up on our own. The Book of James gives us guidelines for godly living, but the undercurrent is one of humility and the understanding of where the ability to be "good" really comes from. 

        

Questions for Group Discussion:

• Do you usually make New Year's resolutions? Why or why not?

• From where do the ideas for resolutions originate:

   o Your own mind?

   o What you see other people doing?

   o The Bible/church?

   o Prayer?

   o Movies/magazines/TV?

   o Boyfriend/girlfriend?

   o Parents?

   o Other?

• Considering James 3:13, what do you think it means to live a "good life?"

• How might the world's definition of a "good life" differ from the Bible's?

• How do you think God could help you grow in wisdom and humility?

Click here to read session two.

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