Your prayer life…is it good, bad, or non-existent? What about the quality and quantity of your time spent in prayer? We all would admit that our prayer life could be better. For most of our prayers are quick apathetic words thrown at God, lacking energy and even the confidence that they’ll even be answered. So how can we change our weak and impotent prayers into the prayers spoken about in this verse? James tells us that as Believers our prayers are capable of producing great results, and through God, He is able to accomplish incredible feats because of our prayers. So think of it this way…our prayers start God (and all of creation He has at His disposal) moving. Our simple prayers trigger God’s all powerful and magnificent response… opening the way for Him to do miraculous things on our behalf. That puts a completely different spin on our prayers, right? For if we could only take hold of and comprehend just how powerful and effective our prayers were…we could change the world for Christ.
Maybe you’ve never thought about God…but I can tell you this, He has always been thinking about you. Maybe you’ve never taken the time to search out answers you have about God…but trust me, He’s been making Himself known to you on a daily basis. Just take a look around…everything, including yourself, was created by Him. You don’t even have to initiate a conversation with some far off God…for He is already right there beside you, gently saying, “Here am I, here am I.”
Here, Jesus is speaking about the standard we use to either judge and condemn people or forgive and share with others. For not only in the verse prior to this one but elsewhere in the Gospels we hear Jesus speaking about our accountability. In Matthew 7:2 Jesus exhorts us by saying, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” So with the same measure or standard we use to evaluate the worth of someone… it will be used to evaluate us. But in contrast, the measure or proportion we use to forgive and contribute to the needs of others…it will be used to bless us.
This verse can be boiled down to this…if we obey God, we’ll be blessed…but if we disobey Him, we’ll be cursed. Ultimately, it’s our choice how we will live here on earth. Our life’s journey can include a relationship with the Lord or not…it can be full of joy, peace, and blessings, or not. It’s our choice. But if you talk to someone who’s been a Believer for a while, they will tell you that the benefits of having a relationship with Jesus Christ far outweighs anything the world could ever offer them.
Let’s look at the two different definitions of plain in this verse. What we know about God, it says, is plain to us. For we only need to go outside and look at the beauty around us…the expansiveness of the sky, the magnificent colors of the flowers and trees to see and know the evidence of God’s creative ability. But this is because God has made it plain to us. He has not hidden Himself from us nor made it impossible to come to Him. The way to God is simple, direct and very clear…it is only through His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins.
The reference to this is in Exodus 2:3, “…she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.” When the mother of Moses could no longer hide him from the Egyptians…she was forced to put the basket in the water and release the baby to God. Letting go of our children is difficult. Whether it’s their first day of school or just starting college, I believe Moms have a harder time of relinquishing their control. But just as the mother Moses had to trust God with her baby, we need to also. For if you think about it…God can love and care for our kids much better, for He’s always with them.
Our lips are called the gateway to honesty or deception. And while this Proverb extols the benefits of wisdom, and thinking before we speak… Job 15:5 shows the opposite when it says, “Your sin prompts (or incites) your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty.” We all have the ability to select the words that come out of our lips, for it’s our prudent or deceptive heart that guides them.