Before I post the devotional thought this morning, I want to wish my youngest son, Marcus, a happy birthday. My baby boy turns 32 today. He is a great dad and hard-working young man. I am proud of him and love him very much!
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16
Let me ask you a question. Is there something more important than healing in the church?
I guess it matters what your priorities are.
But, if I understand what James is telling us here, God values spiritual health above physical health. And if I am understanding the Scriptures correctly (and that's my job) God is saying that is easier for Him to heal your body than it is to give you spiritual health.
What are you talking about, Brad?
Let me explain it this way. Were I to ask, "How many of you would like physical healing?" I would imagine I would recieve unanimous agreement.
Were I to ask, "How many of you want to be spiritually healthy" I am not so sure I would get such an enthusiastic response.
See, God can heal you physically because He is able and you are willing. But for you to be spiritually healthy you must surrender your will completely to Him and humbly obey Him. The same will that would allow Him to heal you physically might prevent Him from blessing you with spiritual health.
Spiritual health requires personal prayer. When you are troubled you share it with God in prayer. When you are happy, you praise Him with prayer and rejoicing. Essentially, what James is saying is that you and I must take personal responsibility for our personal spiritual health. Your spiritual and mental and emotional health is your responsibility (in cooperation with God).
Spiritual health also requires powerful prayer. What is powerful prayer? According to James, powerful prayer is the result of believers being completely honest before God and transparent with each other. Submitting to confession and accountability is the price for powerful prayer and spiritual health. Oh, by the way, something else happens too - physical healing!
Finally, spiritual health requires prevailing prayer. Prevailing prayer? James urges us to pray for those who are spiritually drifting and separated from God. You might call it intercessory prayer and you would be correct. But I want to tell you that when you combine personal prayer with powerful prayer you get prevailing prayer and God's Spirit moves on people! Especially, lost people!
So, physical healing is easier than spiritual health. They are related but they are not the same. Fortunately, you can have both!
If we can have both why then do churches often have neither?
Frankly, it is because we would rather be happy than holy. We would rather be comfortable than committed. We don't want to hold others accountable to be holy because their sins and shortcomings make us feel more comfortable with our own. Honestly, we are more comfortable with our sins than we are with His Spirit. We are more comfortable with our secrets than with His sanctifying presence.
So, you wonder why there are so many struggling Christians and unhealthy churches?