From The Heart

Publish date: 11/13/2003

James is an apostle who does not beat around the bush. He feels very strongly about issues of integrity and character and he gives us firm guidelines for conducting our lives in such a way that we can walk in the blessing of God.   

But above all [things], my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath; but let your yes be [a simple] yes, and your no be [a simple] no, so that you may not sin and fall under condemnation.  James 5:12 AMP

You should not swear by the Lord or try to pull God’s name into your conversation to back up what you are saying. Don’t ever say that “God said” or “God told me” if He really didn’t. James says that you should not try to be something you are not. You should not promise things and then not do it. You should not say things that you do not mean just because you are afraid of people or because you are trying to impress them. Be truthful in your relationships. Say “yes” when you mean “yes” and say “no” when you mean “no”.

 Is anyone among you afflicted (ill-treated, suffering evil)? He should pray. Is anyone glad at heart? He should sing praise [to God].  James 5:13 AMP

If you are facing a battle, don’t use it as an excuse to behave badly or to have a bad attitude. If Jesus is your Lord, then you can call on Him when you are in trouble or when you have a problem. Don’t be whiney or grumpy or ungrateful – just pray. Talk to the Lord, who can do something about it, not to people, who can’t do anything about it.

If you are happy then praise the Lord. Recognize that everything you have comes from Him. Always maintain a joyful, grateful spirit and you will always walk in His blessing. Even when you go through hard times, you will come out on top because the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Is anyone among you sick? He should call in the church elders (the spiritual guides). And they should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord's name. 15 And the prayer [that is] of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart].  James 5:14-16a AMP

The Father intended the Body of Christ to be a blessing to each other – to pray for one another, lift each other up and protect each other. We need to recognize that our fight is with the devil – not each other. We need to be able to come to our fellow Christians for help, for prayer, for support, for restoration. We should love one another in such a way that we cover one another. We should be able to be transparent, to expose our weakness and find mercy, compassion and restoration and not judgment, criticism or rejection.

The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. 17 Elijah was a human being with a nature such as we have [with feelings, affections, and a constitution like ours]; and he prayed earnestly for it not to rain, and no rain fell on the earth for three years and six months. 18 And [then] he prayed again and the heavens supplied rain and the land produced its crops [as usual].  James 5:16b-18 AMP

God has empowered Christians to pray and receive the answer. Have faith in God, have faith in His Word, and pray in faith, expecting God to hear and to answer your prayers.

[My] brethren, if anyone among you strays from the Truth and falls into error and another [person] brings him back [to God], 20 Let the [latter] one be sure that whoever turns a sinner from his evil course will save [that one's] soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins [procure the pardon of the many sins committed by the convert].  James 5:19-20 AMP

So many times, when a Christian makes a mistake, other Christians condemn them, criticize them and gossip about them. However, God expects us to love one another, cover one another and protect one another. When we humble our heart to pray for a fallen brother or sister and speak the truth to them, and we help them find their way, through repentance, back into the will of God, then we will save their soul from death and we will please the Father. The only thing we can take with us is the souls of men. It is not only important to lead people to Jesus, but also to support them as they run their race and to help them to finish their race and cross the finish line.