Jessica Albritton, NextGen Minister LHBC

James 5:13-16
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

The coming of a new year is always a time of reflection and anxious anticipation. Many look back on the previous year and take everything into account, make a debits and credits list if you will. Sifting through the good and bad, many come up with a game plan for the next 365 days.  People all over the world make resolutions to do better, be better, think better. Some succeed in keeping their resolutions but sadly many fail and by mid-February gyms are looking less full, pantries are stockpiled with Little Debbie snack cakes and so many find themselves falling back into old habits. 

I believe we fail so often at resolutions because we attempt to do it on our own and have no accountability to keep us on track. I know for me, anytime I set a goal for myself I will 100% fail if I don’t tell someone about it and have them hold me accountable. I need a friend to call me up and make sure I am staying on track. If not, I make excuses and fail every time. If no-one knows I have set the goal, then in turn no-one knows I have failed. And if no-one knows I have failed I can keep up the image of having my life together. 

As a believer I have found myself often trying to be the perfect Christian. I put out this perfect persona and keep my goals to myself. If I tell someone my goals I have to also admit my shortcomings. When I admit my shortcomings that could shatter the illusion that I have my life together. So I secretly set my spiritual resolutions, secretly fail to keep them, and no-one is the wiser. Except when I fail to measure up secretly I have the potential to spiral and buy into the lie that I am not worthy. Satan whispers in my ear that I am a failure and will never be enough. 

James 5 is a beautiful reminder of the need for community. The passage reminds us that if anyone is suffering, sick, or stuck in sin we are to lift that up in prayer. But how can anyone pray for those suffering, sick, or stuck if it is kept in secret? Satan whispers false hope and tempts us to keep it all to ourselves, he assures us we can overcome it alone, but Christ reminds us that we are better together! As a family of believers we have the responsibility, and privilege, of carrying one another’s burdens! When we share our shortcomings we can fight them together in prayer, and when we overcome them we can celebrate that win together too! 

What is your spiritual resolution for 2021? What do you need to start, grow in, or give up? And more importantly, who have you told? Who is it that is praying for you and holding you accountable to carry it through to the end? 

Heavenly Father, I resolve to be more like You! I know that my fight is not against flesh and blood but instead is a spiritual battle. Lord, help me to swallow my pride and unashamedly admit my failures. For I know that in my weakness You are strong! God, open my eyes to those around me that You have sent to encourage and uplift me and give me courage to ask for accountability. In Jesus name, amen!

Psalm 103:11- For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him