Friday, January 16, 2015

Living before God - James 5:13-18

"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit." (James 5:13-18)
When you're sad, where do you go for comfort? When you're happy, who do you share it with? When your sick, who do you turn to for help? Most of us life our lives and share our lives with other people, all the while forgetting the God who created us and who cares for us. James is encouraging us that our lives must first be lived before God and our thoughts should first be towards Him above all others. When we are sad, we should first turn towards God and seek His comfort. When we are happy, we should first give thanks to God from whom, "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights," (James 1:17) When we are sick, we should first turn to the our heavenly doctor who is able to heal us and save our soul. All these we should do first before turning to each other and seeking help from earthly agents.

In reference to physical healing, James says that we should pray and enlist the help of the elders to anoint us with oil and prayer. However, our dependence should not be on the elders or their prayers, but on the Lord who answers. In asking for prayers from others we must never do so as seeking aid from them but as seeking the aid that comes from God through the prayers of the righteous. Sirach, long before the birth of Christ, put it this way, "My child, when you get sick, don't ignore it. Pray to the Lord, and he will make you well. Confess all your sins and determine that in the future you will live a righteous life. Offer incense and a grain offering, as fine as you can afford. Then call the doctor—for the Lord created him—and keep him at your side; you need him. There are times when you have to depend on his skill. The doctor's prayer is that the Lord will make him able to ease his patients' pain and make them well again." (Sirach 38:9-14 GNT) Seek the Lord first, then enlist the help and aid of others, seeking the help and aid they bring from the Lord.

Above all, our life should be lived in conversation with the Lord; in prayer, rejoicing, and fellowship. Such a life is not left to the pious elite but is available to everyone. The most eminent of prophets, kings, and apostles were men just like us with like passions, temptations, and concerns, yet they found a life of conversation with God; a life lived out in the presence of God. If they can find such a life, we can too, if we look first to Him above all else.

David Robison

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