Everyday Living from the Book of James
Everyday Living from the Book of James
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The book of James has been called at times "The Proverbs of the New Testament" because of its practical nature in how to "do life" with God. Do you ever struggle with things like trials and temptations, faith, favoritism, your tongue, pride, quarrels, slander, prayer and how to be patient in suffering? Then you've come to the right place! James confronts all these and more head on and in this power-packed letter to believers.

Do you get tired and discouraged feeling that you will never live up to God's standards? Do you want to know God in a deeper more intimate way? Then this study is for you. Your perspective on God will be challenged along with what a relationship with God truly looks like focusing on "being" rather than "doing."

Acts 17:28 says, "In Him we live and move and have our being." What does that really look like in our everyday lives? Are you ready to "go deeper" with God? Well, then, let's get started!

If we read James 4:2 as written, it appears that our lustful, evil desires can cause us to commit murder, and that murder is synonymous with fighting and quarreling. Is that what he really means? Let’s look at a teaching from Jesus on murder.

Read Matthew 5:21-22

- According to Jesus, what did he equate to murder? ___________________________

- Is anger really the same as murder? What point do you think Jesus was trying to make? _______________________________________________________________________

James is using the same figurative style of teaching as Jesus did on this point in order to make a direct hit.

- According to Matthew 15:18-19, what is the central point both Jesus and James are making? _________________________________________________________________

It’s always a “heart matter” where God is concerned, isn’t it? If you’re full of anger, you can effectively “murder” someone with your tongue. In God’s eyes, there’s no difference. 1 Chronicles 28:9 says: “…for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.” There’s no pretending with God!

- In what way is God speaking to you this very moment? _________________________

It’s a bit baffling that after James confronts the intense desire, craving and lust for pleasure, he states simply at the end of verse 2 that they don’t have because they don’t ask God. As if to say, “All you have to do is ask God if you have a desire; stop fighting and quarreling about it.” However, let’s remember the spiritual condition of the church to which he’s writing; they’ve stopped talking to God about much of anything. Their lack of prayer is based on the simple fact that they no longer desire the things of God.

Maybe some of you remember the old Snicker’s commercial that said, “It’s so satisfying.” Snickers, the great mid-afternoon pick-me-up; it will take your blood sugar sky high, and then send it crashing down so you feel worse than before. Satisfying? Hardly.

In a sense, that’s exactly what was happening to these people; they were looking to satisfy their desires outside of God--the only real source of satisfaction and fulfillment. Does this ring a bell with any of you? It certainly rang a bell with Solomon as we will see from the following verses.

Please read Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

- List some of the things that Solomon sought in his quest for satisfaction.


- What are some of the ways you’ve looked for satisfaction outside of God?


- What conclusion did Solomon come to in verse 11? ___________________________

Let’s put a placeholder here for a second and go back to James. He seems to contradict himself between the end of verse 2 and verse 3. First he says that they don’t ask; then he says that they ask with wrong motives and for their own pleasure. “Oh, God, please bless me with a new house…car…job…more money…..” “I promise God, I’ll use it for you.” (Remember, God searches every heart and understands every motive.)

When our prayers become a time of selfishly asking God for things to satisfy our own cravings and desires outside of God, it’s as if we haven’t prayed at all. Since God’s ultimate desire is to draw us closer to Him and to find satisfaction in Him, He will not hand us things that will even temporarily cause us to find satisfaction outside of Him; His desire for our spiritual good is first and foremost in His heart and actions towards us.

Solomon came to the conclusion that everything in life was meaningless outside of God. What about you? Are you still looking to fit the round peg in the square hole?

Listen to the words of Isaiah 55:2:
“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what
does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and
your soul will delight in the richest of fare.”

How has God spoken to you in today’s lesson? ______________________________________
1. Is anyone ever "qualified" to write something on behalf of God? I wrote this bible study because after walking with God for the past 35 years, I have come to know and recognize His voice and His Spirit moving within me. Philippians 2:13 sums it up: "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." I wrote this at His leading and for His good purpose - whatever that may look like.

2. I have a passion for God's word; I live, breathe and believe God's word to the fullest. I want other's to know God to the fullest of their ability and be challenged to "stretch" to another level in their Christian walk.

3. I live in Spokane Valley, Washington and am the Women's Ministry leader at Valley Real Life, a church of appx. 1200 people. I have been married almost 36 years and have three married daughters and four grandchildren with a fifth on it's way. I teach bible study and have spoken at women's retreats as well.


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