For the past few days I have had some of the same thoughts floating through my head. Dangerous, I know. Glimpses here. Pieces there. But the same theme and goal. So before I lose it all, I wanted to get it down. I'm sure it will be a continual work in progress. I just had to form it initially so I can view it again. Feel free to help me process it.
James comes to the end of his letter stating that the "prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." I hear people speak of that phrase emphasizing that the more righteous we are, the more powerful our praying is. But the more I study it, the key is not the righteousness of the man but the righteousness attributed to the man by God. And therefore the praying is powerful because the man is closer to knowing the mind and heart of the Lord. Peter states in his first letter that the prophets were searching intently trying to figure out what "the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing to" when He predicted the suffering of the Christ. They were able to speak powerfully, not because they were so gifted but because they were walking closer to Christ and He was transforming them.
Here is the heart of my thoughts. The health and wealth gospel, the name it and claim it crowd, and the purely attractional "come see what God wants to give you so you can feel good" group, have all done a disservice to the essence of the Gospel. I know that is not earth-shattering. But hear me out. Every event in my life, including my challenges, my defeats, my achievements, my dreams, my everything, is meant to force me closer to absolute dependence upon and offering of praise to, the One who created me for His glory. Peter describes it as the "goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:9) So I'm never a victim because He is using the circumstance to either break me or help me trust Him more. I'm never alone because He will never leave me or forsake me. I'm not a loser because we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. The only purpose I have in life is to learn to trust Him and do whatever He says so that He is glorified in my life. I'm not an authority in and of myself, I live under His authority. I'm not a spiritual superstar because as John the Baptist said, "He must increase and I must decrease." I'm not fighting for my rights because I have none. I stand for His truth not matter the cost. I live thinking about knowing Him and not what He can and does do for me.
Again, not new thoughts. Just a feeling that they are essential thoughts being neglected.