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James: How You Respond to Hardship Matters

James: How You Respond to Hardship Matters

Join FaithGateway Online Bible Study starting April 22nd for Margaret Feinberg’s new study James: What You Do Matters! We’re going to learn that not only do we matter, but what we do, how we act, what we say, and how we think matters in the Kingdom of God! Sign up today! Enjoy session one:


Opening Group Activity (10–15 minutes)

In upcoming sessions, we’ll have group activities. But for this opening session, let’s start with some questions. Everyone comes to a gathering like this for different reasons and with different goals and hopes. Take a few moments to discuss the following:

◪ What prompted you to come to this study group?

◪ What do you hope to get out of this time together?

◪ What do you hope to get out of studying James?

Bonus: Take a photo of your group and send it to She and her team want to see your smiling faces and pray for your group.

Session One Video (21 minutes)


As you watch, take notes while thinking through:

What caught your attention?

What surprised you?

What made you reflect?

Video Notes

◪  James’ letter sounds more like Jesus than any other New Testament letter

◪  Who said it: James or Jesus?

◪  Practice a defiant joy

◪  Perseverance is faith stretched out

◪  Ask God to lavish you with wisdom

◪  Every good and perfect gift is from above

SCRIPTURE covered in this session —  James 1:1-6, 17

Group Discussion Questions (30–45 minutes)

Leader, read each numbered prompt and question to the group and select volunteers for Scripture reading.

1.What challenged, encouraged, or surprised you about the game, Who Said It: James or Jesus?

2.Select a few volunteers to read Matthew 13:55; John 7:1–5; 1 Corinthians 15:3–7; and James 1:1.

Discuss the following:

What do each of these passages reveal about James?

What do you think would have been some of the joys and challenges of being Jesus’ sibling?

3.Select a few volunteers to read Matthew 5:11–12 and James 1:2–4.

Discuss the following:

What parallels do you see between Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and James’ instruction?

What’s one challenge or hardship you’ve faced that has really stretched you? How did that difficult time impact your faith, your relationships, and your outlook on life?

In what ways did you grow stronger, more mature, or more in love with God and others?

Where are you still needing to heal from that experience?

4.Margaret teaches:

Practicing a defiant joy is an active engagement of the mind in which we choose to place our trust in the character and competence of God.

  • Practicing a defiant joy means that no matter what we’re facing, we remain suspicious that God is up to something good.

Because when we look for the goodness of God, we will find Him.

Describe a hard season when you found God’s goodness shining through in an unexpected way.

What are some practical ways you can cling to the goodness of God in hard times?

5.When you’re in the midst of a challenge or hardship, which of the following do you tend to go to first for help and wisdom? Rank your top three responses.

____ Internet

____ Spouse

____ God

____ Family

____ Friends

____ Instagram

____ Online video

____ Counselor

____ Self-help book

____ Pastor

____ Influencer

____ Other ______________________

Where does God rank among the places you turn to quickest?

What hinders you from going to God first?

How can you overcome these hindrances?

6.Margaret gave two tactics based on James’ teaching for what to do when hardship happens:

Practice a Defiant Joy
Ask God to Lavish You with Wisdom

Go around the group answering a selection of the following questions:

Which of these tactics is easiest for you to remember and implement when facing hardship, and which is most difficult? Explain.

Which would help you most in the challenges you’re facing now? Explain. What’s stopping you from implementing this tactic?

* * *

Your Turn

Come share your thoughts on James: What You Do Matters! We want to hear from you! And be sure to sign up for the OBS today!