James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
We think it a weakness to admit our faults and failures. Yet, within the sharing or confessing our faults one to another, we become strong. How is that possible?
Many tout the axiom,
“You are only as strong as your weakest link.”
We use it in sports to strengthen and shore up the weaknesses in ourselves or others.
We use it in business to protect from catastrophic failure.
Most importantly, we should use it in the church to strengthen the brethren.
Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
Peter was given a task of the Lord that he could only perform after he was converted.
We know of his denial by the fire, the anguish he suffered during the crucifixion and burial. But seeing the post-resurrection Peter, we see boldness under control. We read of Spirit-led miracles and things done that were not like the first Peter.
Jesus confronted Peter’s weakness and revealed the root of his weakness. Peter lacked the faith to allow God to wholly possess him. Succumbing to the Holy Spirit in everything can engender doubt and fear.
Every one of us is weak in some areas. What James addresses is the ability for the church to manage its weakness and help it become firm.
A good church is not made of all talented and gifted people. It has the poor, the addicted, the weak, and infirm. The church also has those who have strayed from the fold.
There are three charges given to the church:
Outreach or evangelism
InReach or discipleship
Re-Reach or maintaining the brethren.
Many churches are good at one or two of these. But the one that most fails is re-reach. To monitor those who have fallen away or walked away because of one thing or another is a tedious task, but one I believe that the Lord wants us to take up.
In John 21, we read of the restoration of Peter by Jesus’ questions.
John 21:15 “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”
Three times Peter was asked if he loved His Lord. On that third time, Peter, seemingly put out because Jesus asked repeatedly, we read:
John 21:17“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
Repetition grieves us as well. To have to go out after one who strays over and over again can become tiresome. We may never know what time it takes that brings that one to their senses, if ever. I look at it this way: if I was in the bondage of some sin and a brother came to me repeatedly to bring me back, I would rejoice over the time they spent to restore me.
We must do what God commands us and allow Him to do the work of drawing them unto Himself.
The confessing of our faults one to another is a security measure that keeps us accountable and gives us a layer of security.
Many come to church out of duty.
Today, allow your church to be much more by seeking out a good Christian brother or sister with whom you can be accountable. Covenant to pray for one another. Regularly call text, or meet to check up and pray together.
You will begin to see it as a defense mechanism against the devil’s attack on your church. Ask God with whom you can draw close. It may surprise you who He chooses.