When Jesus was on earth, he had a lot to say about love, but not everyone loved him.
Instead, Jesus’ opponents hated him, attacked him, and saw him as extreme — dangerous — revolutionary — a radical. And they had a point! The things Jesus taught about loving God and loving others challenged the status quo and changed the world forever. That’s pretty radical.
In this 4-week series from the book of James, we’ll look at four ways Jesus invites us to love according to his revolutionary example. These ideas might seem simple, but when we choose to listen more than we speak, refuse to play favorites, watch our words, and fight for peace, we’ll see just how radical Jesus’ teachings really are.
RADICAL PEOPLE LISTEN MORE THAN THEY SPEAK
Have you ever said something you regret? Maybe you spoke before really thinking something through or said something out of anger rather than kindness.
If we’re being honest, this is something that we’ve all experienced. Most of the time, you and I are pretty quick to get mad and say what’s on our mind, but we’re not usually very quick to listen.
Instead of listening to others, we’re consumed with our own lives, thoughts, wants, worries and insecurities. Instead of being careful with our words, we say things that cause hurt and pain. And instead of managing our emotions, we let our feelings control how we treat people.
But in the Bible, a guy named James gives us some advice on how to love others more like Jesus would. It sounds simple, but actually putting it into practice is harder than it seems. However, doing so will make a huge difference in your relationship with others and your relationship with God.
Week 1: 10/6 & 10/10 – Palmer Dill
Scripture: James 1:19-21; Psalm 15; Luke 10:25-28
RADICAL PEOPLE DON’T PLAY FAVORITES
We all have favorites, don’t we? Think of your favorite song, movie, or pizza toppings. Having favorites is a natural thing.
We all have favorite people, too. If you won a free vacation to Disney World right now for you and your top five favorite people, you’d probably start narrowing your invite list pretty quickly.
That makes sense! We can’t be best friends with everyone. But sometimes we can take this a little too far, and suddenly instead of simply having favorites, we start playing favorites. This happens when we begin excluding, hurting or treating people unfairly.
But the Bible teaches us some really important things:
- God doesn’t have favorites—we’re all loved equally by him.
- God hates it when we show favoritism in ways that harm others.
- If you want to be more like Jesus, follow His lead and love people like He does.
That kind of love will radically change your relationship with others and with God too.
Week 2: 10/13 & 10/17 – Stallion
Scripture: James 2:1-17; Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23; Romans 2:11
RADICAL PEOPLE WATCH THEIR WORDS
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve exchanged insults with someone, right? Whether in fun or in anger, we all know how to use words like weapons.
We use them to gossip, start rumors, criticize, mock, tease or insult people. If we’re being completely honest, it’s probably much easier to remember some of the hurtful things people have said to you over the years.
This shows us how important it is to be careful with the words we say. So what do we do when we really want to use our words like weapons?
Jesus’s brother, James, once used the analogy that our words are like tiny sparks that can cause devastating forest fires. They are small but capable of huge damage.
But if you’re truly committed to trying to love people like Jesus does, James’s simple advice has the power to make a radical difference.
Week 3: 10/20 & 10/24 – Allie Redmond
Scripture: James 3:1-12; Mark 7:1-8; Luke 6:27-28
RADICAL PEOPLE FIGHT FOR PEACE
Has anyone ever come to you before and said, “we need to talk?” There are few statements more terrifying. It’s the universal signal that things are about to get tense.
Whether you’re hearing it from a parent, friend, teacher, boyfriend or girlfriend, it means there’s something that needs to be resolved.
Here’s the thing—we all know how to fight. No one had to teach us that. But, we don’t always know how to fight well.
In the Bible, a guy named James gives us some advice on how to love others more like Jesus would, specifically in the midst of fights and conflict. He tells us to stop being selfish, to ask God for wisdom and, most importantly, to be peacemakers. He tells us to fight for each other rather than fighting against each other.
Isn’t that how Jesus fought for us? What better way to make a radical difference in the world than by loving each other like Jesus loves us.
Week 4: 10/27 & 10/31 – Palmer Dill
Scripture: James 3:16-18, 4:1-3; Matthew 5:9; Hebrews 12:14a