Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon Series:  “Relationslips”
Week 3: Two to Tango?

Link to PDF: 11-18-17.pdf

  1. What aspects of the clip from the Pixar movie, “Inside Out” could you relate to?

2. Read James 4:1-10:
“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.”

3. What thoughts or questions come to your mind as you read this passage?

4. James was the half-brother of Jesus.  He wasn’t a believer during Jesus’ earthly ministry years, but after Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to James, and that caused James to recognize that Jesus was really God.  James later became known as ”James the Just.”  What does that title communicate about James?

5. Pastor Dale pointed out that we don’t generally “drift” toward right behavior.  We tend to drift away from it.  Because of this, we need to be intentional about living in a way that leads to good, healthy relationships.  If you are willing, share about a time in your life when you drifted into a behavior pattern that damaged a relationship (even though you may not have recognized at the time that you had a part in contributing to the damage).

6. In James 4:1, James indicates that, when it comes to searching for the cause of relational conflicts, we should start by looking inside.  What did he mean by that?

7. What are some internal causes of relational conflicts?

8. In James 4:2, he indicated that when we have experience relational conflict, there are also external factors; and so looking at the outside may help us diagnose the internal problem.  What are some external factors that might show up in a relational conflict?

The book “The Anatomy of  Peace” suggests that most of our relational conflicts involve one of these 4 things:

  • the “better than” battle
    • I see myself as better than other people, so I tend to look down on others.
  • the “I deserve” battle
    • I believe that I am entitled to certain things because of my meritorious behavior, and I feel others are unfairly mistreating me despite my goodness.
  • the “need to be seen” battle
    • I seek to manage my image so that I will be seen by outsiders as a good person.
  • the “worse than” battle
    • I view myself as “worse than” others and grow hopeless that change is possible.

      Which of these four tendencies are you most likely to slide into during a conflict?

8. In James 4”2b-6a, James suggests that in the midst of relational conflict, we should look up – meaning we invite God’s power into a relational conflict. Think of a relationship you have that is currently struggling.  What could you ask God for that might actually help bring some healing into that relationship?

9. James says that our “friendship with the world” can come between us and God.  What does he mean by that?  What is “friendship with the world” and how does it impact our relationships?

10. In James 4:10, James suggests we should step down – meaning we should humble ourselves.  What happens in a relational conflict when one person humbles themselves and admits where they were wrong?

11. How might it affect your relationships if you sought to develop more of a spirit of humility?

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