Session Four | James 2:1-13
Big Idea: God doesn’t show favoritism, neither should you!
Key Verse: “Listen, my beloved brothers, has God not chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” –Jm. 2:5
Have you ever showed favoritism towards others? If you’re human, the answer is YES. There’s a problem with favoritism, and James is very clear about it in his letter to followers of Jesus. There is no room for favoritism when God himself shows no favoritism. Think about it: God himself offers life and salvation to anyone who believes in him and who loves him. That means whether you’re homeless or own a private jet, you can inherit God’s kingdom. So why would we treat people according to what they wear, how they look, or what they have to offer us?
Treat everyone with the same love and mercy that has been shown to you by God through Jesus Christ.
James reminds his readers of God’s law, which includes “love your neighbor as yourself.” He makes the point that just because we haven’t murdered someone or committed theft or adultery doesn’t mean that we’re sinless. Whoever breaks one law of God’s is guilty of breaking all of them, and we’ve all broken at least one of God’s commandments! But even though you and I have disobeyed God, he still loves us. How amazing is that? Don’t mistreat a poor person and favor a rich person. Treat everyone with the same love and mercy that has been shown to you by God through Jesus Christ.
Live It Out
- Memorization: Learn the Beatitudes. Matthew 5:3-12 or Luke 6:20-26. In a succinct way, these describe the reordering of the world from God’s perspective.
- Seek counsel: If you have been working hard to keep God’s rules, and you’re troubled by this assertion that breaking even one command makes you a lawbreaker, talk with a pastor or teacher about this. Ask how to unpack the idea of God’s “mercy.”
- Evaluation: Take the opportunity to examine your own life, both in your thoughts and your behaviors. Do you show favoritism? If so, what can you do about it?
- Serving: Can you get involved in a ministry to the poor and homeless in your community? (Example: NorthLife Soup Kitchen!) Many such ministries need volunteers and financial support. Talk to your parents about connecting with one of these ministries.
- Prayer: Consider offering a prayer of confession, individually or with others. Ask for forgiveness if you have shown favoritism to the rich, disregarded the poor, or worshiped money.