For Your Connect Groups – 16 July 2017

This week we considered James 5:7-12, where our primary subject is that of patience.  It’s an area in which many of us struggle, so pray that the Spirit will enable and empower you.

Pray Together

  • What are some of the church needs you’re aware of?
  • Who in the church needs your intercession?
  • What are you and your loved ones praying for at the moment?
  • What wider situations can you pray into?

Read Together

James commands us to be patient: to endure in hardship, difficulty, or trial.  As you’ll remember, the time-limit for our endurance is not simply “until the end of the trial,” but rather it is until the Lord returns!

Discuss:

  • What areas in your life do you see a call to endure?  Where is there a need for patience?
  • Do you find it comes naturally? (probably not!)  Are there things you have found help or hinder your patience?

After you’ve re-read the text, discuss:

  • How does the example of the farmer aid your understanding of patience?
  • What about the example of the prophets?  How about Job?
  • Remember we looked at Hebrews 11:32-40.  Do the examples here help you?

The Why of Patience

We often want to know the why, don’t we?  If we could see, specifically, how God would ultimately use this situation for good, then it would make endurance in the here and now easier.  However, we must remember that faith and sight are mutually exclusive (see 2 Cor 5:7)

When discussing this, we considered Job, and also looked at both 1 Peter 2:19-21 and 2 Peter 3:9, 12.

  • What general reasons for patience can you see in the text?
  • What people do you know who have not believed in Christ?  How then can you “hasten the coming of the day of God?”

The How of Patience

You’ll recall that we considered the fact that, on the one hand, James exhorts us “endure!  Be patient!  Strengthen and establish your hearts!”  Yet, on the other hand, Paul prays in Colossians 1:9-12 that God would strengthen us for endurance and patience.

  • How do we resolve the tension this brings?
  • What does that practically mean, for you and me today?

Hopefully, you’ll recall this most important point, that our obedience to James’ exhortation is to submit ourselves before God and pray for His power in our lives.  It’s not a matter of us trying harder; it’s a matter of us surrendering more and repenting more deeply.  We allow God’s love to hold more and more influence in our lives.  And then, “Love is patient…” (1 Cor 13:4)

Oaths

The last verse in our section today was on the topic of oaths.  Recall the application of this is that we should have a good testimony, at church and in the world, that we are men and women of our word.  If we have said we will do it, it’s as good as done.

  • Are you aware of how others view you in this regard?
  • Are there commitments you’ve made and then failed to come through?  If so, how did you handle it?

Keep Each Other Accountable

Remember, your Connect Group is meant to be a place you can safely share your struggles and know your brothers/sisters who love you will pray for you.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Pray for One Another

Share your prayer needs and requests.  Commit to pray for one another, not just now but throughout the week.

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