October 17, 2021

Part 5—James 3:13-4:10 (NIV)


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James: Humility and Wisdom: Part 5—James 3:13-4:10

Message Outline

JAMES 3:13-4:10 (NIV)

3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. 

4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: 

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”  7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 

 1. Avoiding wrong kind of wisdom. (v. 3:13-16; 4:1-3)

unspiritual, demonic… envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice… kill… covet… quarrel and fight… wrong motives… pleasures.


When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13–15 (NIV)

2. Seeking the right kind of wisdom. (v. 3:17-18; 4:6)

pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:5–6 (NIV) 

3. Deepening our friendship with God. (v. 4:4-10)

That he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? … Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:18 (NIV) 

Small Group Questions

CONNECT WITH GOD (choose one of these practices that best suits your group or use a practice from a previous week)

  • Breath Prayer: This ancient form of prayer is a reminder of the nearness of God in everyday life and his provision- even in each breath we take. As we breathe in, we pray in our mind and heart “Lord Jesus Christ…” and as we exhale, pray “have mercy on me.” Do this in silence, together at your own pace, until everyone has prayed/breathed this ten times.

  • One Minute: Set a timer for one minute. Sit in silence, letting go of the anxieties of the day, the worries of tomorrow, and the urgency of the present. Allow the anxious thoughts to drift away and focus your heart on Jesus Christ.

  • Opening Prayer: Simply open your small group time in a focused prayer. Ask God to reveal his truth to you through scripture and the Holy Spirit. Give praise to God for what he has been doing in your life and the world, and recognize Jesus Christ as the great mediator between us and God.


Journaling: Many spiritual practices this year will require a journal. If you are a small group leader be prepared with paper and pen for those who are without. Please remember that there is no right way to journal. Journals can be intermittent, upside down, written, drawn, or doodled. They are a way to capture what God is doing in you over time. Journaling with your small group will include a prompt; however, in your time alone with God, allow the Spirit to be your leader.

Humility and Wisdom: In your journal, write down the word HUMBLE at the top of the page and WISE on the bottom of the page. Under the word HUMBLE, write down the names of five people who have exemplified humility to you. Above the word WISE, write down five people who exemplify wisdom. Take your time to come up with the names and allow God to lead you in this exercise. Discuss one or more of the questions together below.

  • Which name could be on both lists of humility and wisdom?
  • How did these people show you their humility and wisdom? Share an example.
  • Would you put yourself on this list?
  • If you could instantly be more humble or wise, which would you choose and why?

CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group)

  • Read James 3:13-4:10.
  • Read the main points from the sermon outline.
  • What topic in the sermon and scripture stood out to you?
  • How would James characterize the wrong kind of wisdom?
  • Read the list of traits from heavenly wisdom in verse 17. Which trait is most attractive to you and why? 
  • James uses harsh words to rebuke the church in verses 4-9, calling the church adulterous and sinners and commanding them to grieve, mourn, and wail. Why do you think he uses such strong rhetoric here?
  • Where in scripture has God elevated those who humble themselves? 

CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (select one question for discussion)

  • How is humility a witness of the Gospel in your place of work, school, or daily life?
  • How do envy and selfish ambition hurt the witness of the Church?
  • Where is God calling you to be a peacemaker in your school, work, or daily life?
  • How can the church actively submit to God and resist the devil? What do those two things look like put into practice?
  • How does godly sorrow over sin become transformational and not lead to despair or apathy? 


End your time in prayer writing down any prayer requests in your journal.