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Discipleship Guide: James Week 2

James Week 2–Erin R


            All of us face temptation in one way or another.  We are all creatures of desire, and we all face cravings and temptations that can lead us to do things we wish we hadn’t.  Often, the objects of our desire are just stand-ins for other internal needs, such as peace, connection, or comfort.  According to therapist Aundi Kolber, when we “white knuckle,” or deny warning signs from our minds and bodies in order to cope with the challenges of life, we become less of who God calls us to be.  When this happens, it can be more difficult for us to love God, ourselves, or others well.  In this way, as James notes in today’s scripture, our cravings can turn to sin, and that sin can lead to death.

            Yet while James names this human proclivity, he also offers a remedy:  “Welcome the word planted deep inside you, the very word that is able to save you.”  We are called to cultivate the Word of God within us by paying attention to, and being honest about, the needs of our bodies, minds, and spirits, by bringing them to God in prayer.  Prayer, sometimes in concert with therapy or 12-step groups, can help to ground us and heal us from the inside so that our outer behavior more consistently reflects the person God created us to be.  In this way, no matter what challenges we face, we can love others well, as we’re quicker to listen, slower to speak, and slower to grow angry. 


Questions:

  1. We all struggle with cravings and temptations.  Do you think it’s true that the object of our desire is sometimes a stand-in for a deeper need or hunger?  Why or why not?

  2. According to author Allison Blue, “prayer is the place we allow our desires to be reached by God.”  Do you find it easy or difficult to bring your desires to God in prayer?  Why do you think that is?

  3. St. Augustine once prayed, “our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”  What do you think he meant by this?  Have you ever experienced finding rest in God?  If so, talk about that experience.  How might finding rest in God help us to love God, ourselves, or others better?  

  4. Besides prayer, therapy, and/or 12-step groups, what are some other ways that we can try to meet our deep needs and hungers?  How do you think the church can help others meet their deep needs and hungers? 



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