03 The Gift of Trials

Bible Study on the Epistle of James

This is part of a Bible Study series on the Epistle of James. You can find more information on the complete series by going to the Series Overview.

This Week’s Text: James 1:13-18
Date: January 17, 2016
Series: Shoe Leather Theology: Study of James

This Week’s Resources:


This Week’s Lighthouse Lesson


Overview of this Lesson

Last week we looked at the Trouble with Trials (James 1:2-12), and this we we focus on “The Gift of Trials,” (James 1:13-18). There is a subtle shift in this week’s text as James uses a word play with the words trials and temptations. Here is the bottom line: in life everything is a temptation; how we respond to a trial/temptation determines whether it is a gift or strikes a chord deep within us that leads to sin. James lesson is clear, however, God cannot tempt us with evil (v. 13). We must acknowledge that within each one of us is the ability to turn even the good gifts of God into sin. We are at fault. James makes this clear in vs 14-15.

How do we resist temptation? How do we stay faithful even in the times of trials? That is the thrust of this week’s lesson. As you study and prepare, may God use His word of truth to produce the fruit of maturity in both your life and the lives of your Lighthouse members.

Memory Verse for This Week

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.– James 1:17–18 (ESV)

Core Practice: Authenticity

Authenticity (John 13:33-34): I know and understand biblical truths and transfer these truths into everyday life. Who I am on the inside and outside is a pure reflection of Christ and His Word.

Introduction

  • Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?
  • January is the start of a new year. Do you find January to be a month of hope or of despair? Why?
  • What is the best memory you have from the month of January and why is this moment so memorable?

This Week’s Take Home Truth

Trials, God’s gift to mature us, can become a temptation, Satan’s tool to deceive us, if we stop trusting God under it and start blaming God for it.

Read the Text (James 1:13-18)

James turns to the other side of trials, namely, when testing becomes temptation. God tests his people (e.g., Abraham, Genesis 22; Israel, Ex. 16:4; Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 32:31) so that their character is strengthened, but he never tempts (i.e., lures people into sin). Since God cannot be tempted with evil, and he is unreservedly good, he would never entice human beings to sin or seek to harm their faith. God brings trials in order to strengthen the Christian’s faith. He never tempts, however, because he never desires his people to sin. Christians should never blame God when they do wrong. Read James 1:13-18.

Digging Deeper

In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions.

  • If you had to describe what temptation is to a 10-year old, what words or concepts would you use?
  • How are temptations connected to trials?
  • What mistake to we typically make when it comes to the issue of temptations that ultimately leads us to sin?
  • Describe the “Cycle of Sin” James outlines in vs. 14-15 and how we can combat this deadly cycle.
  • How can we prepare for temptation and avoid falling into sin? See how the following passages help prepare you to deal with any temptations that may come your way.
  • What can a person do to stop an evil desire from becoming an actual evil act?

Concluding Thoughts

In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions.

How are you treasuring God’s Word in your heart? Do you merely dabble in Scripture now and then, or do you immerse yourself in its purifying, refreshing waters? Do you search through it mechanically to satisfy your curiosities, or do you allow it to search you in order to cleanse your heart and mind? Reading, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word—the greatest and most perfect gift from above—will help you to stand strong in the moment of temptation.

Take this opportunity right now to ask the Holy Spirit to do soul surgery in your life. Pray the prayer David once prayed:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. (Ps. 139:23–24)

Whatever your particular temptations may be, no matter how relentless they are, the Father is ready to provide the good and perfect gifts that will strengthen your heart with His life-giving power and personal victory. I can tell you from my own, personal experience, focusing on God’s Word works.—Charles Swindoll

Becoming A House of Prayer

Prayer Prompts:

  • Pray for Pastor Joe and Amy Earle as they work to lay the foundation for the church plant in Sanpete Valley, Utah. Pray that God will open the doors of the community to them and their children, and that He will sovereignly direct them to the house that will become their home and place of ministry.
  • Pray for Timur Nesbitt as he prepares to leave for Central Asia in June of this year. Pray that God will provide financial supporters for his minister in Central Asia and that God will lead the way in forming a new church.
  • Pray that as a church, 2016 will be a year when our church family grows in its understanding that Jesus is the Messiah and desires to reign as Lord in the life of every believer (Matthew 16:16).
  • Pray for our church as we seek to double the amount of funds available for mobilization starting in 2018. Ask the Lord to help us be wise stewards of the resources He provides and give us clear direction as we seek to bring greater clarity and focus to our global outreach strategy.
  • Pray for couples in our church family who are experiencing difficulties in their marriage relationship. Pray for grace and mercy and for God’s protection over the families of our church.

    Chris Eller is a Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Pastor, Geek, Writer, Photographer, and Church Technology Consultant.

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