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Our Daily Devotional
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TRUST JESUS TODAY
V12 “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.”
Most sins will provide at least a perceived pleasure or gain but the sin of swearing provides neither pleasure nor gain it only shows an enmity with God without any possibility of gain or advantage. Swearing is therefore, here condemned.
“…lest ye fall into condemnation.” James gives a subtle reminder of Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” There is a warning here. If our mouth is not right, then our heart is not right with God, because out of the mouth comes the things of the heart (Mt 12:34, Mt 15:18, Lk 6:45).
V13-15 “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
It is first noted that prayer may come in the traditional form or as a song. When we are merry our hearts should cry out with a song of praise, which is not only a prayer to God but a testimony to all those within ear shot.
When we are sick we should call for the leaders of the church (who should have power with God and man). Notice that is not the oil that is given credit for the healing; it is the prayer of faith. It is faith that moves mountains and pleases God.
The forgiveness of sin is always involved in answered prayer. After all, if we regard iniquity in our hearts the Lord will not hear us (Ps 66:18). With effective prayer must come repentance.
V16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Few Christians will do what God tells them to do here: “confess your faults one to another.” It is difficult to start out a sentence with: “I have sinned…” or “I have a problem…” When it comes to sin we often will ask for forgiveness but we should be asking for more. We should be asking God to make our heart no longer desire to commit such and such a transgression. We have not because we ask not (James 4:2), so if our heart desires to do wrong would it be logical that our desires are not correct because we have not pleaded with God enough to change our heart.
V17-18 “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
It is interesting that God points out here that Elias is just like us. Elias was able to persuade God to change the course of nature. The reasons for that go back to verses 15 and 16: prayers of faith and a righteous man doing the praying. The righteous man of v16 is not just a man that has been made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ but a man that obeys the commandments of God and lives a righteous life.
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