I was reading my Bible this morning when I found something I don’t think I’d realized before; the verse that says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”? It has a beginning to the verse… “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
How many times have I been guilty of praying what I though was an effectual fervent prayer… but with sin in my heart? How can I be “righteous” if I haven’t confessed my faults, at the very least to Jesus? To truly have that effective prayer, I have to – HAVE to – be willing to look into the deepest, darkest part of my soul, and see the person living there. Is she deceitful? Sometimes. Does she have a bad attitude? Frequently, though she tries to hide it. Does she “grudge” others (James 5:9)? Occasionally, though she rarely admits that completely to anyone. Is she like the person in James 3, who spouts sweet things and then bitter? And then there’s James 3:13-16: “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” I don’t want to be that person, but I must admit that I sometimes am.
I’d much rather be the person spoken of in that same chapter, verses 17 and 18: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
I don’t want my heart to be so full of MYSELF that it has no room for GOD! I may say I love Jesus, and others may see a love for Jesus exhibited, but if the root of that love is not in my heart, what good does it do me? NONE! I have to give over my whole life, my whole HEART to God, so that He can remove the things that are wrong (bitterness, envying, strife, deceit, hypocrisy, etc.), and replace them with gentleness, peace, wisdom, loving kindness, and everything else that is good. And it doesn’t do any good to lie to myself and say, “Well, most of the time my heart is not wicked; most of the time I have a pretty good attitude; most of the time, I’m not two-tongued and bitter.” What good is most of the time? If I ignore the times when I do sin, even if the sin is in secret, I’m just as guilty as those who sin openly. After all, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
I’m so glad, then, that there is the redeeming blood of Jesus, to wash away those sins! Thank you, Lord, that if I “Humble [myself] in the sight of the Lord, [You] shall lift me up!” James 4:10
Well, here’s me, Lord… please wash away those sins! “Wherefore seeing we are also compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1