Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Growth Through Suffering (James 1)

Have each person list five things in life that bring them joy.

Have each person talk about suffering they've recently endured.

As a group, read James 1:2-4.

What parts of this passage seem to go against common sense? What parts of this passage make sense?

According to James, what is the purpose of suffering?

What is perseverance? Make a list of synonyms for perseverance.

Have a few people share how their past suffering helped them develop "perseverance".

How can perseverance enable someone to grow in their relationship with God?

List some ways perseverance is a character trait which enables us to better love the people around us.

How would you describe a "mature Christian"? What are the character traits and personal habits of a mature Christian?

Can someone be a mature Christian without suffering? Why or why not?

Think about the ways you have most recently suffered. How can you demonstrate joy in those situations? (if you have time, discuss how "joy" might be different than "happiness". Use Psalm 51:7-12 to guide this discussion if necessary.)

Take a moment for the group members to consider how God might be "completing them" spiritually through their suffering.

Extra Passages for Further Study:
Hebrews 12:7-11
Romans 5:1-5
1 Peter 1:6-9
1 Peter 4:12-19

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