Verse: James 5: 19-20
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
We have reached the closing words from James and often those are words of great importance. They emphasize the main reason for writing the book, that we believers need to act on our faith. If we have faith, that should lead us to being slow to anger, not favoring the rich, being careful what we say, being humble and not envious, and being active in prayer. He closes with an admonition that we help our fellow believers stay on this path of faith and devotion to God.
Have you ever wandered from the truth? I know that I have. It is really easy to do, isn’t it. Wandering doesn’t mean you purposed to go somewhere bad. You just didn’t notice where you were going and you, little by little, left the path. Simple to do. Check the list above. I think I have wandered away from each of these at one time.
I was in a bad place when I first went to the Barn Vineyard church (it wasn’t called that then) over 30 years ago. I remember my first time counseling with Bruce, the pastor there, telling him about my frustrations and anger issues and how that would lead to saying things I didn’t mean. He prayed with me and helped me see that I had wandered from the path of truth. He brought me back to the right path, the life-giving path. It wasn’t easy to hear but it was necessary. Don’t we all have stories like this?
James is saying in these closing verses that we need to help each other stay on the path. We demonstrate our faith by our actions of helping our fellow believers come back to the truth.
I was riding an ATV at one of the men’s retreats a few years ago and decided to take it off the path and cut my own path. I thought it would be fun. It was terrible!! Huge rocks and potholes that were not visible until I hit them. I was almost thrown off! I made my way back to the path very carefully (and sheepishly). The same is true for those that leave the path of truth. We don’t want anyone hurt or killed by the potholes of sin, especially our brothers and sisters in the faith.
I know that this is not an easy thing to do but God wants us to partner with him in this restoration work. Obviously, we need to do this with an abundance of care and love. We may need to involve others or make a referral to a counselor or pastor. Let’s take the learnings of the book of James and put our faith into action by helping each other stay on the path of truth and righteousness.
Dear Lord, thank you for the inspired words from James. Help us to live out our faith by listening to your Spirit daily and doing your will. Give us courage and wisdom to help each other live out purposeful lives committed to you.
Author: Brad Dunn