Sunday, November 29, 2015

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE SERIES - THE BOOK OF JAMES, #4

TRANSFORMATION IN PRAYER- SUBMIT, RESIST, DRAW
(James 4:7-8a)
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
In the previous post on prayer (#3) we examined the Protocols of Prayer, where the absolute foundation was built on the twin pillars of humility and repentance. But Transformation only begins there as intentional ACTION must follow. 

Again, we have to look at the Model of The Man who is teaching these truths on behalf of God. We know James, the head of the Christianity's "head office" in Jerusalem, is speaking for God and the only way James knows how to listen, teach and obey - (L.T.O.) is to pray. His very instructions in today's passage from James 4 are predicated on prayer...to wit:
- Submit to God (verse 7): How do we submit to God unless we surrender directly to Him. This can ONLY be done in direct conversation or as we call it - prayer! To submit to the Will of God, we have to know Him intimately, His Word inherently and His plans instinctively. There is not getting around it. This has to be done through Prayer and reading the Bible. Morphing into the image of Christ starts when we say, in earnest prayer, we are nothing without Him, and we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

- Resist the Devil (verse 7): Nobrainer here! The devil hates us and any shiny or tempting object he sets before us is to aid us in life, but to completely ruin everything we are, say, think do. He wants to destroy our testimonies, our marriages, our families, churches, communities and countries. He has succeeded tremendously in every single one of them. Why should he succeed with us? He is a filthy destructive being and we resist in prayer by reminding him of his destiny; his defeat at the Cross and his lack of any hold over you and I. God has already told us how wise it is to literally RUN away from Temptation and Evil. That's it - resist by running and resist by rebuking in the Name of Jesus, in prayer, fast thinking and surrender to the Lordship of Christ.

- Draw near to God (verse 8): Another nobrainer here! Can you and I hear the skeptics now? "How can you draw near to someone you can't see?"...and some such configuration? First of all, a person can only draw NEAR to God, whom God has called near to Him! This is an explicit reminder of the special dispensation granted the Redeemed who are saved by His Grace and called to eternal life by the King! So we already have positional salvation in the Kingdom. Therefore the power, richness and intensity of that Walk with Him, depends on us alone. 

How much we want to look, sound, walk, talk and love like Jesus depends on how close and strong we want our relationship with God to be and this means - you guessed it - prayer! Draw, come close to Him in prayer, know His thoughts, Amazing Mind, Heart and His Word and He will reveal more and more and more and more to you in one verse or one month than ever thought possible in a lifetime. This may sound challenging to many Christians but in over a decade into a more intentional prayer life, what has worked for me is regular fasting and prayer. Many are not pro-fasting, as it is not a command or requirement for Salvation. which is true. However, I can't begin to tell of the incredible power, insight, awe and inspiration which Fasting has brought into my life. Fasting is a topic for another time, but I choose to follow the Words of Jesus and His Lordship here when He said in Matthew 6:
16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Emphasis mine).
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