Have you ever wondered what to do in the day-to-day troubles and just life in general? In this last section, that’s what James tells us. First by giving us scenarios of ‘if this, then do that’.
Are you having troubles? You should pray. Are you happy? You should sing. Are you sick? Ask the elders of the church to come and rub oil on you in the name of the Lord and pray for you. If such a prayer is offered in faith, it will heal anyone who is sick. The Lord will heal them. And if they have sinned, he will forgive them.
Are you troubled and bothered by life? What should you do?
“Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds.” Philippians 4:6-7
Are you happy? What should you do?
Does anyone remember that song that starts like this:
“If you’re happy and you know it…”
Remember what it says to do?
Clap your hands.
“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap clap)
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap clap)
If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. (clap clap)
Who sang it? Come on…admit it.
What about when you’re sick? What should you do?
Get someone to pray with you. If you’re in the hospital and reach out to the church, one of the pastors will visit and pray with you.
If you’ve sinned, what do you do?
Ask God for forgiveness.
“If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done.” 1 John 1:8-9
James tells us to take it to the next step.
So always tell each other the wrong things you have done. Then pray for each other. Do this so that God can heal you. Anyone who lives the way God wants can pray, and great things will happen.
We should have someone who’s a mature Christian hold us accountable. Like Pastor Rod preached a while back about having “Daniels” in our life. Personally, I have John and some other guys in the church for that. Knowing they’re watching, knowing God is always watching, helps.
Look at the last line, “Anyone who lives the way God wants can pray, and great things will happen.”
The principle is God blesses obedience.
Would you answer the requests of someone who did wrong to you, or your kid if they disobeyed you?
Now God doesn’t always answer our prayers. He has a plan and knows the future and what would happen if He answered every prayer we prayed. There are some reasons He lets some things happen.
James talks about a Bible hero that’s just like us as an example.
Elijah was a person just like us. He prayed that it would not rain. And it did not rain on the land for three and a half years! Then Elijah prayed that it would rain. And the rain came down from the sky, and the land grew crops again.
Who knows who Elijah is? Do you remember this story?
“Elijah was a prophet from the town of Tishbe in Gilead. He said to King Ahab, “I serve the Lord, the God of Israel. By his power, I promise that no dew or rain will fall for the next few years. The rain will fall only when I command it to fall.” 1 Kings 17:1
“Then Elijah said to King Ahab, “Now go eat and drink. A heavy rain is coming.” So King Ahab went to eat. At the same time, Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel. At the top of the mountain, Elijah bent down. He put his head between his knees. Then Elijah said to his servant, “Go up higher and look toward the sea.”
The servant went and looked. He came back and said, “I saw nothing.” Elijah told him to go look again. This happened seven times. The seventh time, the servant came back and said, “I saw a small cloud the size of a man’s fist that was coming in from the sea.”
Elijah told the servant, “Go tell King Ahab to get his chariot ready and go home now. If he does not leave now, the rain will stop him.”
After a short time, the sky was covered with dark clouds. The wind began to blow, and a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab got in his chariot and started back to Jezreel.” 1 Kings 18:41-45
I’m sure Ahab prayed for rain, but God didn’t answer his prayers. He would answer Elijah’s.
An interesting thing about Elijah is that he struggled with depression and frequently was running from the king’s wife in fear for his life. He even prayed that God would kill him and end his misery in 1 Kings 19. That’s an example of God not always answering our prayers.
At the end of his ministry, God took Elijah to heaven in a chariot of fire. Come to think of it, God never did answer Elijah’s prayer to let him die.
Ok, if we have accountability partners, and we should be someone’s accountability partner, what should we do if someone we love is sinning?
“My brothers and sisters, if anyone wanders away from the truth and someone helps that person come back, remember this: Anyone who brings a sinner back from the wrong way will save that person from eternal death and cause many sins to be forgiven.”
We bring them back. How?
Jesus said in Matthew 18:15, “If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again.“
Why should we worry about them?
Because we love them. 1 Peter 4:8 says, “Most important of all, love each other deeply because love makes you willing to forgive many sins.”
We try to bring them back because we love them, seeing the wrong path they are going down, and we do that by bringing them back to God whose love can cover sins with the blood of Jesus.
James is teaching us to pray and praise in all things, saving as many people as we can before the Lord comes.
Our action steps are:
Pray in times of trouble.
Praise in times of happiness.
Pray for healing.
Confess your sins.
Pray for one another.