Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
James 5:16 NLT
Every day we face new opportunities and new opposition. Each is a blessing from God. Each requires us to thank Him and trust Him.
Opportunities and opposition have a tendency to make us inward focused. We are prone to question God’s purpose and planning . . . “what does God want to teach us?” . . . when the more powerful question is “how does God want to use us?”
James writes to Christ followers who are in difficult circumstances. Many are burdened with economic hardship. Many are facing violent persecution. And, some are suffering with sickness. Although their challenges are unresolved, their choice is very relevant.
James reminds them that God is great . . . greater than their challenges, greater than their conflicts and greater than their circumstances. God is forever faithful to give good gifts that are full of compassion and mercy. And, God uses us as recipients of His gifts to give back to those who are hurting.
A Clean Slate. James encourages those following Christ to “confess your faults one to another” (Jam 5:16 KJV). It’s been said that “confession is good for the soul”. Confession of “faults” or “sins” is not for absolution, but for affection. We acknowledge our faults, weaknesses, shortcomings and blind spots because “love covers a multitude of sin”. (1 Pet 4:7) There is forgiveness in The Family. The Message gives some impacting insight, “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other . . . so that you can live together whole and healed.” (Jam 5:16 MSG)
A clean slate brings harmony.
A Committed Heart. Samuel Chadwick said, “Prayer is the acid test of devotion”. Prayer is our dependence on God and our passionate plea for others. James reminds us that we to embrace our faults and encourage others in prayer. Paul’s prayer for believers is a pattern for us. He writes, “So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” (Col 1:9-10 NLT) See the power in prayer . . . “always honor and please The Lord” . . . “produce every kind of good fruit” . . . “learn to know God better and better”. Our compassion for others is seen in our conviction to pray for them.
A committed heart brings help.
A Confident Prayer. Prayer makes things “pop”. James reminds us that the diligent and deliberate “prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Paul writes, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil 4:6-7 MSG) Prayer works if we work at prayer.
A confident prayer brings hope.
English poet Alexander Pope said, “To err is human, to forgive is divine”. God wants to use humanness to bring harmony, help and hope.
Confess . . . Pray . . . And, see how God will give you a defining moment.