This time of year, everyone makes resolutions – things they resolve to do in the coming year. Let me suggest to you five resolutions from a short passage in the Bible – James 1:19-21 – that will transform your relationships with others and your relationship to God.
Hard to Keep?
First, let’s start by asking you: what are some of the resolutions you have made in the past and had a hard time keeping? Why?
Were there any resolutions you made that you kept over time? What were they? And why were you able to keep them?
The book of a James is an extremely practical book of the Bible, revealing important principles for life. In James 1:19-21, there are at least five principles to live your life by. These principles are listed below in the form of resolutions. Read each principle and respond to the statements and questions below.
Read James 1:19-21 (HCSB)
19 My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, 20 for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.
1. Resolved: Be quick to hear. (James 1:19)
- Listening well is extremely important. What are some challenges to listening well others?
- Do you listen well to others? Why or why not?
Read Proverbs 12:15 (HCSB)
15 A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.
- What does this verse teach about listening?
Read Proverbs 18:13 (HCSB)
13 The one who gives an answer before he listens— this is foolishness and disgrace for him.
- What does this verse teach about listening?
What is one thing you will do to “be quick to hear”?
2. Resolved: Be slow to speak. (James 1:19)
- Being slow to speak has nothing to do with the pace of your speech, but everything to do with pausing to think before you speak. Is this a challenge for you? Why/why not?
Read Proverbs 10:19 (HCSB)
19 When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.
- What does this verse teach us about our words?
Read Proverbs 17:27-28 (HCSB)
27 The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips.
- What do these verses teach us about speaking and remaining silent?
What is one thing you will do to “be slow to speak”?
3. Resolved: Be slow to anger. (James 1:19-20
- What are some things that cause you to get angry quickly? Why
- As a follower of Christ, why is it important to show self-control, being slow to become angry?
Read Proverbs 15:1 (HCSB)
1 A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.
- What do this verse teaches you about controlling anger?
Read Galatians 5:22-23 (HCSB)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
- Which aspects of the fruit of the Spirit relate to controlling your anger?
What is one thing you will do to “be slow to anger”?
4. Resolved: Rid yourself of moral filth. (James 1:21)
- Describe the biggest challenges to ridding yourself of moral filth.
Read Romans 13:11-14 (HCSB)
11 Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
- What are some deeds of “darkness” that a Christian should discard from their life?
Ephesians 4:17-5:5 (HCSB)
17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus. 22 You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s ⌊likeness⌋ in righteousness and purity of the truth.
25 Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. 28 The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
1 Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. 2 And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. 3 But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints. 4 Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks. 5 For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God.
- What aspects of your “old self” should you get rid of as you walk with Christ?
Moral filth tries to stick to us all of the time. The flesh, the world and the devil war against the Spirit of Christ that lives in you. Sometimes places we go, people that influence us, websites we visit, media that we read, watch or listen to, and more can cause moral filth to stick to us.
- Do you need you make any changes in any of these areas?
What is one thing you will do to “rid yourself of moral filth?
5. Resolved: Receive the implanted word. (James 1:21)
The word of God guides us. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Christ is in you, believer, and that is the hope of glory! Let God’s word that has been implanted in you guide you in every way.
Read John 17:17 (HCSB)
17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.
- What will sanctify you?
- What is truth?
Read Psalm 119:105 (HCSB)
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
- What does this verse mean?
What is one thing you will do to “receive the implanted word”?