Sundays | 9am & 10:30am | The Woodlands, TX

Attitude Matters: James 5:12-20

Be Shift From Selfishness
John Witte

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. 13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 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. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.—James 5:12-20 (ESV)

Today we conclude our series Attitude Matters, A Study of the Book of James. We have learned that our lives as Christ followers are a continuous journey of growth through trials, through which God intentionally shapes us into the image of Jesus. These trials are never pleasant to endure, but they result in the steadfastness that makes us “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Amazingly, they also produce genuine happiness.

WATCH > This two-minute video clip from the sermon:
ASK > What does John Witte mean by “Faith, not Fatalism?”

Different people respond differently to difficulties and suffering.

How do the unbelievers you know typically respond?

How do the most mature Christians you know respond?

How do you usually respond?

ASK > Are you facing a “trial that lingers?” If you are willing, share it with the group.

We have been taught in this series to avoid the temptation of finding a way to get out of the trial - perhaps through sinful, self-serving ways. We were taught to trust God to complete His good work in us.

ASK > Can God really be trusted?

ASK > Looking back over your life, which trial caused a significant improvement in your maturity? What did you learn?

In today’s passage, we are taught to pray during our trials. We were reminded of Elijah, whose prayers influenced God to accomplish amazing things. The Bible reminds us that he was a man just like us.

ASK > Do you find it hard to accept that our prayers matter as much to God as Elijah’s? Has God ever answered a big prayer in your life? Please share it with the group.

ASK > Why is it appropriate for James to finish this letter with a call to prayer?

“No matter where we are; God is as close as a prayer. He is our support and strength. He will help us make our way up again from whatever depths we have fallen.
We don’t often consider that sometimes Jesus is our strength simply to sit still. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Our natural tendency when we have a painful happening in our lives is to go into action—do something. Sometimes it is wiser to wait and just be still. The answers will come.
… We may be sure that God is true to His word and answers all sincere prayers offered in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. His answer may be yes, or it may be no, or it may be “Wait.” If it is no or “Wait,” we cannot say that God has not answered our prayer. It simply means that the answer is different from what we expected.
When we pray for help in trouble, or for healing in sickness, or deliverance in persecution, God may not give us what we ask for because that may not be His wise and loving will for us. He will answer our prayer in His own way, and He will not let us down in our hour of need.”—(From “Hope for the Troubled Heart” by Billy Graham)

FOLLOW-UP > For more Bible passages on prayer this week, read and meditate on Psalm 6:9; Proverbs 15:8, 29; Matthew 21:22; Philippians 4:6, 7; Colossians 4:2; 1 Peter 3:12.
Posted in