Grow Deep - Faith Works Edition - week 2
Week 2: September 16-22
Faith Works: Just DO It!
Memory Verse: “But be doers of the Word, not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 ESV
When I hear or read the words, “Just Do It!” my mind goes almost immediately to a Nike commercial I saw on television. It is the picture of a runner who is completely absorbed in the experience … feet slapping against the concrete road in a measured rhythm, singularly focused, submitting to the physical demands of the sport with every ounce of her energy and every part of her body, motivated to grow one step closer to her goal.
I wonder if that isn’t a picture similar to the one James is describing in the last nine verses of this chapter. First, he tells us that we need to become humble listeners of God. We have His Word implanted in our hearts, and He speaks to us in His Word. God has a singular focus when He speaks – His desire is to shape us, mold us and change us. We have to listen, though. And, because we are human, there are things that interfere with our ability to humbly listen to God … things like anger and moral impurity and filth. James’ answer to those things that interfere with listening to God is simply to “put them away.” In other words, James urges us to give God every ounce of our energy and attention instead!
James also tells us in these verses that we are not just to settle for listening and hearing the Word. We need to be “doers” of His Word. We need to submit to God and put one foot in front of the other against the concrete in response to what we have heard, moving one step closer to Him with every stride! James cautions that if we are not obediently listening and then acting on God’s Word, we are deceiving ourselves. In my own experience, I know it can be easier sometimes to just listen to God’s Word or study it than to live a life of faith that works and act on it! And to that James says, “Just DO It!”
Sunday, September 16
Read: James 1:19-27
James wants to be sure that God’s people are not deceived. Faith works, and James wants his readers to know that listening without action is not living a life of “true” faith. In order to make that point very clear, he gives several “commands” in these verses. What are they? Is there one of these areas that stands out more than the others to you? Why?
For the Family: Where do you hear God’s Word spoken or sung or read to you … At home? At school? At church? Why is it important to hear God’s Word? What did James mean when he said that listening without action is not a good thing? Why should we do what God’s Word tells us to do?
Monday, September 17
Read: Proverbs 2:1-5
These first five verses are a little like a prayer … a prayer that we should pray daily. Solomon has learned to “fear” the Lord, having a respect, reverence, and knowledge that He is worthy. Out of that fear of the Lord comes a willingness to trust and submit to Him, listening to His Word and trusting Him to act on what has been heard. Why is listening the first step in gaining wisdom and understanding? How can you become a more active listener of God’s Word?
For the Family: God wants us to know Him and to learn to be wise. How can we learn more about God? Why is it important to read the Bible every day and listen to what Jesus says? Spend time with your family today reading a section of the Bible together out loud. Talk about what you heard God saying to you. Think about ways you can do what it says together as a family.
Tuesday, September 18
Read: Proverbs 16:32, 17:27, 29:11
A person who can restrain his or her angry feelings to prevent erupting into destructive words will reap rewards. Why is anger so damaging to relationships when it reveals itself in harsh words or actions? How does that kind of anger impact our relationship with Jesus? Is there anger that does not result in sinful thoughts, words or actions? Explain.
For the Family: Have you ever gotten so angry with your parents, a brother or sister, or a friend that you shouted out angry things you didn’t mean? How did you feel after you did that? What does Jesus say about that kind of anger in these words? How does Jesus want you to treat other people?
Wednesday, September 19
Read: Isaiah 1:16-20
God calls us to be morally pure and to remove any filth from our lives. Jesus, through His death and resurrection, gives us a new heart and new attitudes and desires. How does our sinful nature impact God’s instruction to live a life of moral purity, especially in a world where evil and moral filth are so prevalent? How does “moral impurity” show itself in your life? Repent and ask God to wash you clean.
For the Family: Why do your parents make you take baths and brush your teeth? In these verses, Isaiah tells us that we should not only keep the outside of our bodies clean, but the inside should be clean, too. What kinds of things can make the “inside” of you unclean? Talk about how you can work together as a family to keep your bodies and minds clean on the outside and the inside.
Thursday, September 20
Read: Luke 8:19-21; 11:27-28
In both of these sets of verses, Jesus’ instruction is clear: listen to God’s Word and then do it. You will be blessed. What kind of blessing is Jesus referring to in these verses? What is the connection between blessing and the “perfect law, the law of liberty” referred to in James 1:25?
For the Family: The theme for this week’s readings is “Just Do It!” What do those words mean? Jesus tells us the same thing in these verses. He tells us that if we “just do it” when it comes to what He says in His Word to do, we will be blessed. How will we be blessed?
Friday, September 21
Read: 1 John 3:11-18
John is clearly outlining for his readers what it means to have the love of Christ and to be a witness of that love in service to others. In v. 17, he states that unless you are serving and helping people, then the love of Christ is not in you. There are so many people in need in our community. How are these verses calling you to respond?
For the Family: John says there is a way to know if the love of Jesus is in you. What is it? How did Jesus show us that He loved us? What can you do to show someone you love him or her? How will it show them you love Jesus and that Jesus loves them, too?
Saturday, September 22
Read: Titus 3:1-7
As he prepares this letter to Titus and the Christians in Crete, Paul is concerned about their witness to the world. He reminds them of God’s work in their lives and that they are saved by God’s grace. James cites some evidence of the changed life of a Christian in this week’s reading. How do Paul’s instructions to Titus compare and contrast to those listed in v.26-27 of James 1? What is the most important message unbelievers need to hear? How do our actions make a difference when we are sharing the Gospel message with an unbeliever?
For the Family: The Apostle Paul writes a letter to tell his friends to be gentle and considerate and to do good things for others. We can do that because we know how much Jesus loves us. What does it mean to be gentle and considerate? Why is it important to be gentle and considerate toward others?