Sunday, December 6, 2015

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE SERIES - THE BOOK OF JAMES, #5

TRANSFORMATION IN PRAYER - ALIGN YOUR MIND
James 4:8b 
 "Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded".
No one has clean hands. We are all sinners and in the case of the Christian – sinners saved completely by the Grace of God. The Sacrifice of Christ, on the Cross of Calvary and the Precious Supernatural Blood of the Lamb made washed our souls clean, at the point of rejuvenation and rebirth into the Kingdom of God. We, who are saved in the only manner proscribed by the Word of God thus, are still capable of sin despite some pretty incredibly bad things. Sins Christians commit can range from little white lies all the way to adultery or even worse. Still,  the born-again believer has a way back to fellowship with God through repentance and spiritual sackcloth and ashes (seeking forgiveness for those wronged).

James instructs us to actively cleanse our hands. David showed us the exact prayer of repentance, thus, in Psalm 51:7 "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow".

James instructs us to “purify our hearts”, because we humans really can be double-minded! Since we are unable to remove the organ in our chest that pumps blood and keeps us alive, it is obvious James is speaking about the “spiritual heart”. This is where the spirit of man resides and if born again, where the Holy Spirit of God co-exists to be our Counselor, Teacher, Guide and friend. If there is any sin in the Christian, the spiritual heart immediately pings into it. Holy Spirit and a temporary mindset of lust and more cannot co-exist in one accord with sin. In this event, the Christian is operating with two minds or is double-minded and one will step aside. We are given a directive in Scripture to not grieve the Holy Spirit and this is why. He WILL step aside until the Christian comes to his/her senses; thereby proving that God is a gentleman and will never force His Will on anyone.

Of all the exhortations to correct living, through prayer which James lays out here, this is probably the most crucial.  Being doubleminded is being disloyal to God. As a sinner saved by Grace, I know exactly what that means and on the other hand, knowing the joy of living in peace with God’s Spirit abiding in our Spiritual Hearts is an amazing reality – minute by minute! How, therefore do we avoid being double-minded, so that we do not offend God?

It is easier than one would think, yet requires self-discipline and vigilance to maintain. There is no big secret to this simple form of “purification”, if you will. There is no chest beating or sackcloth and ashes. Simply pray this daily from Psalm 139: 23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting". 

You can guarantee all our sin and weak points will soon be discovered and then exposed. Then after that washing of the Scripture, ask the Lord in true sincerity and humility daily, to REMOVE that dross which He has found. This is not primarily about obvious sin, but from personal experience, it could be even the good things in life (ministry, family etc.) which would be drawing us away from that vital, intense relationship with Abba. That’s it! If we have a cancer or a problem spot – we remove and root it out and dispose of it. It is the same with being a double-minded man or woman of God.

This one phrase or sentence from James packs that kind of power because he is showing us - ONCE AGAIN - God's preferred method of being aligned with the Mind of Christ. The key here is to stay cleansed through the Word and obedience and just in case we are not sure how to do that, we go back to - you guessed it - the Word to discover exactly what we say in pray to accomplish this perfect alignment. God is good, all the time.
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