I’m working on lessons from the Book of James. To tell you the truth I got stuck. I just couldn’t move forward. This afternoon a friend who will be working with me on a volunteer basis came to my house. I told her the passage I was trying to get a subtitle for and just like that she got the light. I was stuck on the first part of James 5:13-18. What I needed to do was concentrate on the second half.
What do you do when you’re sick? Do you go to a doctor? Or do go out and play even if you have a fever? Those are the questions I ask the kids. Then I tell them James gave us a good prescription, in James 5:14-15.
When we are ill, we need to ask the pastor (or the elders) to pray for us. I was just wondering how many pastors today do house calls. I know my late husband did. He used to have a tiny bottle of oil, which I have inherited, and used it when he prayed. The oil is a symbol of God’s love and power. He would anoint the forehead of the sick with oil and then pray for them. That is the first part of James’ prescription. I hope your pastor is willing to do house calls.
I remember one time as a young missionary doing itineration in churches when I got the flu very bad. My pastor (not the official senior pastor, but the man who had baptized me) came to pray for me. Reverend Alvar Blomgren! I will never forget that. He prayed and the Lord healed me.
What happens next? That’s a very important part.
“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” (James 5:16).
Did you know that resentment can make us sick? James writes that we should confess our sins to one another and pray for each other so we can be healed. Some people spend a lifetime of sickness due to resentments, grudges and bitterness. We have to be careful not to let bitterness spring up.
“See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).
This is where I am at the moment. The four point of the lesson are:
- Ask God for wisdom (James 1:2-11)
- Be a doer of the Word (James 1:19-27)
- Treat everyone the same (James 2:1-13)
- Hold no grudges (James 5:13-18)
I think we can all learn from this. Let’s make peace with others, if we have some bitterness wanting to take root. There was a time in my life when a friend warned me, “Whatever you do, don’t get bitter!” I can’t praise the Lord enough that he helped me to forgive. I’d probably been dead today if I hadn’t done that.
What has helped me through the last few years when I’ve had to deal with lots of stress? No grudges! No bitterness! No resentments! I’ve kept a cheerful heart. That’s the best medicine.