Grow Deep - Faith Works Edition Vol 2 week 5

Week 5: November 4-10

Faith Works: Worth the Wait

Memory Verse: “You, too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:8

In sixth grade, our class conducted a social experiment. My teacher gave the students in the class a choice; each of us could either have a snack-sized candy bar in the fall, or get a king-sized candy bar on the final day of school. There were no preconditions related to getting the greater reward at the end of the year. We merely had to know and understand that the greater prize was coming and be patient for the last day. The students had a week to ponder the choice. My friends and I had heated debates: Was it better to have the immediate gratification of the small candy bar in the fall, or should we wait to get a bigger reward in the spring?

James leaves no room for debate regarding what the Lord commands. “See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm” (James 5: 7-8). As believers in Christ, we look forward to the biggest, greatest reward of all. We know that the Lord will return, and we will spend eternity with Him. Even though we know the reward is great, sometimes we get distracted by the difficulties of this world and lose sight of the end goal. We lose patience as we wait. Or worse yet, when we are tempted by the immediate gratifications thrown our way by Satan, we are lured into sin.

I was astonished at how many kids in my class gladly devoured the tiny candy bar on the autumn day instead of waiting for the ultimate prize on the final day of school. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Being patient is hard, especially for 12-year-olds. But now that I am an adult, I understand that I must remain vigilant in my faith, stay rooted in Scripture, and help others wait patiently and focus on the truth of what we will receive on the last day. Christ will return, and that reward is truly “King-sized.”

Taking Jesus to the Streets:
We live in a time of “instant” gratification … instant food and beverages, instant answers, instant communication, instant banking, and on and on. James warns that it is not easy to grow spiritually from our own human “instant” to God’s “eternal.” It takes patience! Think of someone who has been patient, persistently looking forward to a future positive outcome. Ask that person how godly patience made a difference while he or she waited.

Sunday, November 4

Read: James 5:7-20
In this final “wrap-up” of his letter, James encourages his fellow Christians to stand firm and be patient as they wait and look forward to the Lord’s return. He encourages them to be faithful in prayer for one another. Is there a connection between patience and grumbling? If so, what is it? Has your own impatience ever caused you to grumble? How would James counsel you?

For the Family: Can you think of someone in the Bible who was patient about something that was going to happen in the future? Can you think of someone who was not patient? Why does God want us to be patient?

Monday, November 5

Read: Deuteronomy 11:8-15
God commands us to be obedient while waiting for a prize that we know is worth the wait. Why is it difficult to avoid sin while awaiting Christ’s return? Pray that you may faithfully observe God’s commands, and give thanks for forgiveness through Christ for your missteps.

For the Family: Moses told his people that they must be obedient as they waited for God to give them the land He promised to them. Why would that have been hard to do? Talk with your family about times that each of you has been impatient or did not obey. Ask God and each other for forgiveness. 

Tuesday, November 6

Read: Matthew 24:32-44
Jesus reminds us to be vigilant and patient as the coming of the Lord is near, just as James does (James 5: 7-8). Though we eagerly look forward to the coming of the Lord, no one knows exactly when that will be. What things do we do as Christians to prepare for the coming of the Lord? Are there other things we should be doing? Why is patience important as we wait?

For the Family: Is it harder to wait for something when you know that it is coming or when you don’t know exactly when it will come? Why did you choose your answer? We do not know when Jesus will return but we need to get ready for Him and be patient while we wait.

Wednesday, November 7
Read: Job 42:7-17
James uses Job as an example of someone who patiently waits on God through his suffering. Job prays for his friends who had sinned against God. What makes Job a great example of someone who patiently waits for the Lord? Pray for believers who have fallen away from God. What can you do to help them remember to stay vigilant for the coming of Christ?

For the Family: Job had a lot of bad things happen to him, but he did not lose faith in God. He trusted God and looked forward to the ways that God would take care of him and bless him in the future. How can you learn to trust God more?

Thursday, November 8

Read: Matthew 5:33-37
Jesus’ words from Matthew 5:37 are echoed in James’ testimony (James 5:12). Making a promise or oath without fulfilling that promise or oath was common in Jesus’ day, just as it is common today. When a promise is made, it is usually something worth waiting for. How do these words direct you when making promises to others? How can you stay true to Jesus’ instructions regarding oaths?

For the Family: God tells us that we should not really say things that we don’t mean. Why? What happens if we make a promise that we don’t keep? Who gets hurt?

Friday, November 9

Read: Mark 11:22-26
God answers prayers. Jesus says we should pray with a sincere faith to the Lord for our needs, and ask for mercy and forgiveness as we await the return of Christ. What is the one required element of effective prayer? How does prayer put us in a position to help another with their needs? What is the relationship between prayer and forgiving someone who has sinned against you in some way?

For the Family: In these verses, Jesus tells us to pray with faith. What do you think that means? Why does it matter?

Saturday, November 10

Read: 1 Kings 18:30-39; 41-45
Elijah prayed boldly, fervently, and faithfully for a miracle, and God answered his prayer. He prayed for rain, and he did not stop praying until God brought rain. His prayer pointed people to God. How does Elijah help others to retrain their eyes to see God? Are there ways in which you can help others who are distracted from God’s promises fulfilled in Christ?

For the Family: What are at least two things that Elijah did to show that he had faith? How did he show that he was patiently waiting for God to answer his prayer?