November 27, 2007

What's Your Frequency?

Growing up as kid in WV, my dad was an avid Ham Radio Operator. As a young boy I would sit with my dad on a Saturday evenings and watch intently as he would twist and turn various knobs on large humming black & green boxes in our downstairs basement. If one has never seen an old amateur radio, it can be a site to behold. In the late seventies these were large boxes that had illuminated dials and switches and made all sorts of humming and beeping noises. In our backyard was this behemoth antenna that towered over our two-story home and a piece of yard art that my mother seemed to despise. Nonetheless, this was one of my fathers countless "passion" or should I say another addition to his catalogue of "man toys".

As a 7-8 year boy I would sit and watch my dad twist dials intently trying to catch the right frequency in order to speak with some foreign land that we only dreamed of visiting. Before digital technology, these radios required precise tuning by the operator to get the right frequency of the person you were trying to speak to in this distant land. Often I would listen to my dad speak to someone in Puerto Rico or Nova Scotia and even Europe. This required both operators to be on the same frequency to obtain an open channel by which to communicate. If one of the operators were between channels, then the reception was very poor or even lost.

This all came to mind for me this morning as I was reading in James chapt 5.

James 5:14-18: Is any 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 shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him. (16) Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. (17) Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for three years and six months. (18) And he prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

As I read this several things ran through my mind. I thought to myself "Does God have a certain frequency by which he hears our prayers?". From these verses it would seem he does. James advises his readers that in the event a fellow believer is sick to make sure that for one, the elders prays over the person who is afflicted and anoint them with oil. Why elders? Why not just anyone in the church? Early in the church a sign that someone was qualified to be an elder was not how many years they had been in the church , but it was rather distinct qualifications as we see in Titus 1:7-9:

Tit 1:7-9 (7) For the elder must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; (8) but given to hospitality, a lover of good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled; (9) holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers.

We clearly see one of the main qualifiers for being an Elder was to be "Blameless, a lover of good, holy and self-controlled". These are words my friends that are rarely used any more in the church to describe an Elder. As a matter of fact, I once was told by a leader in a church that being holy and blameless was impossibility. Sadly, this person had believed in a lie that all men are unable to be holy or blameless - however this is a direct contradiction of God's word. Nonetheless, we see James asking that men who are established in their faith and have exhibited a life that is holy and blameless to come and pray over the sick. Does this really make a difference when we pray for someone that is ill or sick? According to the Word of God the answer here is Yes! James clearly makes his point further, in order to be heard by God we must approach His throne with a clean hands and clean heart (v16). Just as in the days of the Holy Temple, priests were to never approach God's mercy seat with unless they were clean - spiritually and physically. This is too is a foreshadowing of the new covenant with Jesus - nothing has really changed that much. In order for God to hear us we need to be on His "frequency" - God's only frequency by which he will truly hear us is a clean and holy heart!

The last verse however is the part of this verse that really has the greatest impact for me. James says that the prayers of a "righteous man availeth or accomplishes much". Is this saying that the prayers that come before the throne of God from a righteous man are more likely to be heard or answered? Yes! In verse 17 we see a small example given by James in the example of Elijah, whereby Elijah prayed for it not to rain and it did not rain for 3 years. Was this just a coincidence? Not at all. If we know anything about Elijah we know he was a man of tremendous faith and he was truly righteous & holy before the Lord. In so much that he was even present during the transfiguration of Jesus. So we clearly see from James that God indeed has a "frequency" by which he will hear our prayers - its to be holy and blameless motivated by our Love for God and his son Jesus! For those that say Christians can continue to sin in word thought and deed everyday and still be righteous is an insult and a contradiction to the character of the Lord. In order to be heard by God our lives must be on the same frequency as His, so what frequency are you on? Let us live our lives out of supreme love and motivation for our God so that we may be holy and blameless in his sight - then we can have an open and clear channel by which to talk to our Father in Heaven!

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