Summary: Prayer and faith work hand in hand to bring about physical and spiritual healing God desires for us.
Do any of you use the internet? If so, how often do you use it? I was talking with a couple of my English students Friday and the both said they don’t use it at all. I use it several times during the day. I don’t know what I’d do without it. But I can also say I lived most of my life without it and got along OK. I guess it’s just once I get used to it, I don’t want to give it up. Because I can communicate with people anywhere in the world.
Whenever I sign into the internet I almost always see something relating to my health. My physical health that is. There are always advertisements promising you this or that, advertisements wanting you to try their products, advertisements offering specials and so on. Because there is so much emphasis on physical health today. When we pray we often get prayer requests for physical health. I was praying for Tamura San’s sister who had surgery. Her surgery went well. And earlier in the week I got an email from my pastor saying that his father was having open heart surgery. He said his father might not make it through the surgery but I found out yesterday the surgery went well. PTL. I talked to Graeme yesterday and asked about how his mother is doing. He said she is about finished with chemotherapy and for now they are not doing surgery. I am praying for a complete recovery for her. We often pray for restoration to health. You often heard me talk about Bill Rodenberg. I often prayed for him as he had cancer. And I have seen people healed in answer to prayer, but I have also seen people not healed in answer to prayer.
There is so much emphasis on our physical health. But there is another kind of health we need to look at and that is our spiritual health. Did you ever think how physical and spiritual health go hand and hand. I have often seen when one is physically ill it affects his spiritual health. And if a person’s spiritual health is not good, we might see the same thing with his physical health. When I was working in Houston I had friends in medical school and often we talked about faith, prayer and healing. They do work together.
We are going to finish James today. It’s been convicting, hasn’t it? And not always pleasant to hear, because James is really pushing us for life change leading to maturity. It’s not the book you can just read and ignore. If you do he says you are like the man who looks at his face in the mirror and then walks away, forgetting what you have seen.
James 1:23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
James 1:24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like
But remember, like we’ve seen there are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. It comes through persevering through trials, saying no to temptation, doing God’s word, not showing favoritism based on social status, control of the tongue, applying God’s wisdom, not loving the world, submitting to God and resisting the devil, not judging and oppressing the poor, submitting your plans to God, being patient in suffering, and today we’ll look at praying. Having to do all these might not be pleasant, but look at the end result; spiritual maturity. For those of you who have suffered patiently and endured my messages on James, thank you. But I don’t want to see just the fact you’ve listened to me. I want to see all of us press on to maturity like James says. I hope that this is not the last time you look at James. I encourage you to read it and study it for yourselves. I have used it long before I did this series, and I find myself turning back to it nearly every day. I hope you too will be able to say this was rewarding. Painful, but rewarding because I’m on the road to maturity.
OK, let’s finish it. One of the things I always look for in a church to see if it is healthy is by prayer and praise. Does the church pray regularly for needs? And when things are going well, is there praise? I enjoy praise and worship and I regret we didn’t do more in this service. Wherever I go next, I hope there is someone there who can lead in praise and worship. A church I was talking to sees worship as listening to a message from the Bible. We do need to hear God’s word. But we also need to spend time doing what James is going to tell us in these next verses. You will see him refer to sickness later. This might be physical sickness, but it can also be spiritual sickness. Because remember what I said? A person’s physical and spiritual health are often closely related.