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The Way of a Faithful People


Stan Moody


We plead; we agonize; we push and shove; we promote ourselves; we look for a path of service;

we play at church; we dabble at politics. All the while we are doing those things, God is nudging

us along to His purposes, chief among which is the advancement of His Kingdom: “Thy

kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We pray it, but are we really

committed to God’s will overpowering our own plans?


Death to Self-Exaltation:


From 2 Cor 12:7-10, the Apostle Paul personally addresses suffering in a few verses: “Three

times I pleaded with the Lord to take it (a “thorn in the flesh” – a “messenger from Satan”) away

from me!” he says. What was the answer he received? One part of it was, “My grace is sufficient

for you…” However, it is the other part that bangs out at us: “…for my power is perfected in

(your) weakness.” Paul surrendered to the belief that it was this very imperfection that kept him

from exalting himself (v. 7). Humble, effective worship demands the gradual dying of self-

exaltation.


The minute we decide that the mark of God’s approval is wealth, health, and a clearly defined

path, we have factored God out of the equation. We are saying, in essence, that God’s power is

made perfect in our strength – not in our weaknesses.


Being “Raised Up” by the Lord:


James 5, particularly verse 15, addresses the broader meaning of restoration. He is writing with a

pastor’s heart to Jewish converts to the Christian faith. They were being rejected by their

families, their communities, and their loved ones. They were being tortured and killed for the

sake of Christ. They were being cheated out of their wages by rich business people. James

reaches out in v. 13: “Is there anyone among you suffering? Let’s pray!”


“Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone sick? 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; the prayer

offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has

committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to each other, and pray

for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can

accomplish much.” (vv. 14b-15).


A great many of those people to whom he was writing, including himself, eventually were killed

for the faith. If this is a prescription for health and wealth, did it not work for them? Did they not

have enough faith, or was there unconfessed sin in their lives? The historical record speaks

volumes against such a theology.


Reasonable Expectations:


While James does not exclude physical healing as an answer to prayer, his reference to the

effectiveness of confessing sins to one another informs us of a spiritual raising up by the Lord.

We must pray for one another in faith, believing God can physically heal but expecting only that

the Lord will raise up the suffering person spiritually according to His will.


To deal with the sin in our lives, the weakness in our lives, with what debilitates us and depresses

us, with what keeps us down in the pits, we are encouraged to go to the spiritually strong among

us. As they lift us up in prayer, and as we confess our sin, the Lord promises to raise us up. That,

more than physical healing, is the way of joy and peace; that is the way of the effective Church

of Jesus Christ.

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