“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 4:10 NASB)
[thought questions for The Humility of Heavenly Wisdom November 11, 2014]
1. “He will exalt you.” Some struggling Christian might read these words by James and say, “Okay. Small price to pay. I’ll humble myself before the Lord, and he’ll make me important in the church—and elsewhere.” Is that the apostle’s intent when he wrote these words—to provide a lesson on how to be exalted? Which situation comes closer to yours: A. You made it by climbing over other people? or B. You can never make it because people get in the way? Does rivalry have any place at all in our church? How does it manifest itself?
2. The meekness of wisdom. What did James tell us what to do with our good works? Can you and I be both meek and wise? How? Are there different varieties of wisdom? If so, is there such a thing as bad or dangerous wisdom? Is it possible to keep the commandments of God in a meek and wise way? What is the opposite of meek wisdom? How can you and I develop wisdom that is humble that keeps us from being “wise in our own conceit?
3. Two kinds of wisdom. In James 3, the apostle makes a clear cut between two kinds of wisdom. What are the two fundamental types–one good and one bad–of wisdom? Which type meets your needs in the best possible way? Do you spend enough time and energy time learning more about that type of wisdom? Can it be dangerous to know too much? Foundations Magazine puts it this way, “Often people who know a lot can’t get past that fact and as a result never gain insight into what they know.” How about that?
4. Conflict and Quarrels. How does the evil one manage to stir up God’s people so that they end up in conflict with each other? Does inter-member conflict happen more often in small churches or in ones with several hundred members? Why, do you think? How can our church-based arguments possibly be based on our sinful desires? Is it possible for us as Seventh-day Adventists to disregard and disobey the Ten Commandments? Does James in Chapter 4 have something to say about this?
5. Friendship with the World. Your lesson states that James 4:5 has been called the most difficult verse in the New Testament. What is your interpretation? Which of the Commandments are mentioned by James in the 4th chapter 4? Do our modern-day members still need to hear about the Ten Commandments and their importance in our daily lives? Why or why not? What is the relationship between grace and pride? Ellen White said, “Our great need is our only claim on God’s mercy.” What does that mean to you?
6. Submission to God. Let’s do a little editing of James’ words in James 4:7. What happens when we delete or at least put in a less prominent place the first sentence of the 7th verse of James 4? (“Submit yourselves therefore to God.”) Does anybody like the idea of submission? Even to God? Why shouldn’t submission at baptism be sufficient? What are some of the rewards of submitting totally to God every day?