“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39-39
Our weekly Christian devotional
It looked like a typical Sunday; John and I scuffling around the house frantically tossing on the only pressed clothes we could find. As I gripped my coffee cup, my husband expertly skirted our Prius through the unexpected traffic. Flustered and a little breathless, the two of us ventured into God’s house; caffeine and Bible in tow. I was hungry…but, not in that typical ‘pancake Sunday’ kind of way.
For me, the last couple of days felt like an emotional roller coaster. More than ever, I needed to hear from the Lord.
After worship, our pastor opened up, talking about his own rough week, sharing examples from his own life; explaining how God gently guided him through heart-wrenching lessons weaved within those trials. Oh…when God’s timing synchs right up with your’s! Today’s message definitely felt Taylor-made just for me, a wonderful reminder that God had not forgotten me and I that wasn’t alone in this battle called life.
This message and it’s personal revelation seemed to rattle the avalanche of my emotions. Expelling the stale air suspended in my lungs unleashed a pain I didn’t realize was bottled up inside. I found myself weeping throughout the service, shamelessly sniffling through the entire box of tissues meant for all the parishioners in our row.
When Pastor Paul was done speaking, he invited all who needed prayer to step forward. Without a stich of hesitation, I quickly headed towards the front of the church. As I received prayer, the spick-et of tears began flowing even harder and faster.
After it was over, I walked back down the isle feeling like a new woman—lighter, cleansed and renewed. Despite how awful the day started, I knew it was going to be a great day! Unfortunately, I wasn’t so confident about those mascara streaks marking my cheeks like two lanes of traffic…
Patting my eyes while heading towards the bathroom, I was anxious to redeem any shred of dignity that could be recovered. As soon as entered, I heard my name.
“Julia, are you okay?” A woman standing in front of the mirror saw my reflection and turned. Lines of concern etched her forehead.
“Yeah…I gave it to God. It’s in His hands now.”
“It’s freaking me out to see you in such a mess.” Running some tissue under water, she tucked them in my hands. “You always have your stuff together.”
“Have my stuff together?” I chuckled inside. “Obviously, this chick doesn’t know me very well…”
“If I can’t be a mess in church, than where can I go for healing?”
Taken aback, the woman’s perfectly mascaraed eyes blinked a few times. She nodded respectfully, her coiffed hair not daring to move from its pristine position…
Anytime we come before God, it’s important to keep in mind that He never sees things the way man sees them. Sometimes it feels impossible to look beyond what our natural eye is telling us. But, God sees past all that outer stuff–looking straight into the depths of our hearts. Honesty is the precious commodity that God seeks to find in all of His children. Without it, we can easily construct an image of ourselves that can actually be quite impressive—but totally false.
If you’re attending church just to ‘play church’, take my advice: don’t waste your Sunday. God never designed His house to be a place for religious posturing or ‘righteous’ competition of good deeds. Church was always meant to be a safe-haven of healing and restoration– a place of community, prayer and support.
Jesus famously chastised the religious leaders of His day for turning the house of prayer into a cheap religious experience performed for superficial gain.
Keep in mind that ‘superficial gain’ isn’t merely limited to monetary kickbacks. The sad truth is, many of us only attend church because we are drawn by the prestige of appearing religious. By doing this we ‘get’ something out of showing up and showing face. But, attending religious services for this reason really isn’t about God at all.
So, let me ask you–what are your motives? Why do you do what you do?
Before getting defensive—let’s focus on this fact: Getting honest with yourself and with God doesn’t make you unacceptable to Him! Facing the truth actually draws you closer to Him. Romans 8:38-39 reminds us of this wonderful truth. NOTHING good or evil can separate us from the love of God. Did you catch that? Nothing. That means God still loves your imperfect little self! But, because He wants the best for you—He won’t embrace a lie. True healing never begins with a lie.
If you aren’t ‘right’ in your motives, confess your faults with someone who is willing to pray with you! Our relationship with Christ wasn’t established so that we can become experts at pretending to be perfect. Our relationship with Him allows Christ’s perfection to heal you…but only if you let Him.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I’ve craved perfection ever since I saw my first Barbie doll. I wanted to be just like her.
In my attempt to follow the image of perfection, I’ve become a slave to it.
Lord, you never desired your children to be a beautiful white-washed tombs filled with dead man’s bones!
How can I ever become what Christ died for me to be if I bury my sins, hiding them from my brother and sisters in Christ?
The only way to enjoy true healing is expose my true self—my sin-filled self that you already see anyway!
Doing this won’t give me the appearance of spiritual health and wellness—it will give me a real chance at a total healing.
Lord, all of us are in a spiritual war. There is no getting around this fact.
I can’t change this, but you can change me. I want to be honest with you. Help me with this. Sometimes I find myself justifying what I know is wrong just to make me feel better–and it actually works! Lord, help. I am so lost without your light. The darkness of my soul can’t illuminate the truth for me. Only you can.
In Jesus’ precious name, make me an overcomer. I bear your name and you deserve me bearing it well. Amen.”
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses: James 5:16 and Romans 8:39-39
Please check back and see what we have for you next week!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan