Weekly Devotional | "He Gives More Grace"

Day 1: Worldly Orientation

Quotes:

  • “James personifies the entire church as the “bride” of Yahweh or Christ. At best she has become distracted from and at worst unfaithful to her groom . . . The audience has the wrong object for a lover – the fallen world system and values of the unregenerate.” Craig Blomberg
  • “The intention to be a friend of the world makes a person an enemy of God because it puts the world in place of God, it submits to the world’s ethics and values instead of God’s, desires the things of the world instead of God, and exalts the creature over the creator.” Dan McCartney

Questions and Reflections:

  • James calls his audience “adulterous”, implying they didn’t trust God to meet their needs. We learned last week in verses 1 through 4 that a lack of faith in God’s generosity causes all kinds of relational conflict. What might you be seeking from the world that God eagerly desires to give you?
  • CJ reminded us that God’s jealousy is not like our jealousy. How? What is this jealously like? How is this jealousy an evidence of God’s grace toward us?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Recall James 1:5. Ask God to comfort you with the confidence that he is an outrageously generous God. Ask him to reveal the areas of your life that are characterized by a lack of this confidence. Then turn to God with your requests.

 

Day 2: Godly Disposition

Quotes:

  • “What comfort there is in this verse! . . . His resources are never at an end, his patience is never exhausted, his initiative never stops, his generosity knows no limit: he gives more grace.” Alec Motyer
  • “There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us.” Richard Sibbes

Questions and Reflections:

  • Read Luke 7:36-50. Though we, like the sinful woman and James’ audience, have many sins, Jesus still longs to embrace us in intimacy. Take some time to meditate on all that Jesus has forgiven you of. The more deeply we understand what God has done for us in Jesus, the more confident we will be of his unshakable love for us.
  • Look back through James 4:1-3 and explain how the audience was being proud. Why is humility so important to God?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • Jude 1:24 reminds us of the often neglected depth of God’s grace. He doesn’t merely sanctify us, but promises to present us to Himself as blameless and full of joy. Ask God to renew your hope in him, knowing he can keep you from stumbling. Ask him to initiate or deepen your zeal for obedience.

 

Day 3: Humble Response

Quotes:

  • “The benefits of grace and more grace are ours along the road of obedience and more obedience. The God who says ‘Here is my grace to receive’ says in the same breath, ‘Here are my commands to obey’ . . . James does not see the indwelling Spirit (5b) as a means of instant and effortless sanctification . . . The Bible . . . not only tells us what is true but also how to respond to what is true.” Alec Motyer
  • “It is the outright intention to be the world’s friend that makes a person God’s enemy. Nevertheless, intentionality often begins with a wish, and even wishing to be friends with the world is as dangerous and stupid as a married person wishing to flirt with someone other than his or her spouse.” Dan McCartney

Questions and Reflections:

  • How has your friendship with God grown over the past 3 months? Are there areas of your life in which you are slowly drifting towards the world?
  • Unfortunately none of us effortlessly drift toward holiness. We need a plan for regularly drawing nearer to God publicly and privately. What is one intentional step you could make toward God both publicly and privately this summer?

Prayer Recommendations:

  • As Christians we don’t obey God in order to be saved, we obey because it is the path to ever-deepening joy and intimacy with God. Pray through John 15:9-11 and ask God to help you better understand the unity between God’s grace and his commandments.

 

Group Discussion Questions:

  • CJ explained there are two principalities vying for the affection of the Christian, God and the world. How have you recently been alerted to the seductive voice of the world?
  • J.I. Packer explains that God’s jealousy is “praiseworthy zeal to preserve something supremely precious”. It is not “a compound of frustration, envy, and spite, as human jealously so often is”. How does James’ exhortation and encouragement in verses 5 and 6, respectively, provide you assurance of God’s Holy love?
  • This passage is meant to transform our perception of warnings. CJ explains that warnings are not reflective of God’s frustration towards us, but instead exemplifies his kindness, grace, and jealousy for us. Reflecting on the sermon this week, have you given consideration to anything the Spirit may be advising you to turn from? How has this passage made it more joyous to respond to God’s direction?
  • CJ explained there could be no true community without humility before God and one another. How have you seen humility exemplified within your community group or within the church?