It's been a month since I finished the study I was doing on the book of James and there are still things from the book of Scripture that I'm thinking about and seeking to apply in my own life. It's a book in Scripture that calls you to act on what it is saying and that is keeping me from just moving on to the next thing and leaving James behind. I know that's how it should be with all Scripture, but it's definitely easier to finish studying some parts of Scripture and think it was good, while we just move on to the next thing. I'm finding that much more difficult to do with James.
The last few verses of James 5 have challenged me I've been unable to leave them just yet. Honestly, they talk about some things that I've really had to wrestle with as I tried to understand them. Based on my own life experiences, I haven't always like what they have to say.
James 5:13-20 says:
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Like the rest of the book, there is a lot contained in these eight verses. James just puts it out there - holding nothing back in what or how he says it. Even when he's talking about what could be touchy subjects for some people, James says it like it is.
Verse 13 of James 5 seems pretty straightforward. Pray if you're in trouble. Sing songs of praise to God is you're happy. I have no challenges with either of those things. That doesn't mean it is always easy to do, or even my first response in those times in my life, but it makes sense to me.
It's in some of the verses to come that I've read things that challenged me and left me with things to wrestle with as I sought to understand why Scripture said those things and how my own experiences fit with that. The verses to come in this passage of Scripture are things I'll write about in the coming weeks.
I'm experimenting with a more consistent number of posts each week and topics for different days of the week over the next couple of months. I have no idea if it will work, but I felt like it was time to try something different here. That means the next part in this series of posts will come next weekend and there will be a couple of other posts in between. As always, I welcome your thoughts on my posts or on the changes to when and how I post blogs. I'll evaluate the changes in a couple months and see if it's working.