Therefore confess your sins to one other and pray for one other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
James 5:16 is one of the most important, overlooked and underutilized commands in all of Scripture. In fact, the lack of application of this verse to our lives contributes to the fragmentation, isolation and brokenness we experience. The body of Christ desperately needs application of this verse. Obeying this one verse exemplifies the body of Christ at a cellular level doing exactly as we are commanded by Him to do in John 13:10.
How is obeying James 5:16 obedience to John 13:10?
“Jesus said to him, “Anyone who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, and is completely clean. And you [My disciples] are clean…” (John 13:10).
In John 13:10 above, Jesus declared that when He bathes us at salvation, we are clean! But He also says that we still need to have our feet washed by one another to stay completely clean from the sin of the world (John 13:10, James 5:16). Our feet are what get dirty when we sin since we walk on our feet by faith (2 Cor. 5:7), and sin is anything not done in faith (Rom. 14:23).
Then… Jesus says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:14, 15).
1) Christ washes us clean at salvation (John 13:10)
2) Our feet get dirty as we walk by faith in a sinful world (2 Cor. 5:7, Rom. 14:23)
3) We must wash one another’s feet as He washed theirs (John 13:14-15, James 5:16)
What does James 5:16 look like? A small group of authentic, trustworthy, confidential friends or neighbors. They gather weekly/biweekly to support and encourage one another, to share real life problems, to listen to and pray for one another, to bond and have a safe place for authenticity. No problem is off-limits. Cross Current and Living Waters are two examples of this healing model.
Safe people are required in the process of James 5:16 healing. What are safe people? Safe people are those who have matured (or desire to) in the faith such that they are grounded in love and will receive you where you are in the moment without judgment, condemnation or condescension in thumping you overt the head with a Bible verse. As the Spirit leads, they are willing to hear your story, walk along side you, bear your burden and share your pain during your process of growth.
James 5:16- Break it Down for Me
“Confess– humble yourself, open up to the light, share your heart, allow safe people to receive you where you are, and understand you and agree with you concerning your issue
your sins– your faults, your struggles, your problems, be real
to one another– do not isolate yourself in the dark during your time of need (1 Peter 5:8)
and pray for one another– listen to and pray for the needs of others, then humbly receive the same for yourself
so that– when you obey this command, a specific beneficial result will occur (“I want to bless you!” God says)
you may be healed”– obedience brings healing and freedom in to your life
SURPRISINGLY…obedience to James 5:16 automatically includes obedience to many of the commands that we are instructed to obey regularly: washing one another’s feet (John 13:10), gathering with the saints (Matt. 18:20, Heb 10:25), loving one another (John 15:12), bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2), sharing in one others’ rejoicing and weeping (Rom. 12:15), speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), unwrapping one another’s grave-clothes (John 11:44), awaking to righteousness (1 Cor. 15:34), staying sober-minded (1 Peter 5:8), praying in His name (John 14:13), setting one another free from sin (John 8:11), and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3:18), to mention a few.
This beautiful and powerful verse is a picture of Christ reaching out to touch and heal His body of believers one at a time. Do you want His healing? I do! In application of James 5:16, He works through individuals and groups to heal one another.
James 5:16 is a real life picture and application of John 13:10, when Christ washed His disciples feet. When we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another and are healed (James 5:16), we are washing one another’s feet of the sin of the world. Saints can’t help but get their feet dirty walking in a sin-filled world, so they love having their feet washed.
After Christ washed His disciples feet, He then told them in John 13:15-16 to do the same for one another. Practicing James 5:16 is obedience to John 13:14-15 washing one another’s feet. When we wash one another’s feet from the sin of the world, we keep one another pure and walking in progressive freedom.
In our fragmented and broken world, the application of James 5:16 facilitates the authentic fellowship, bonding, prayer and healing that we so need within the body. This occurs initially on an individual level and builds incrementally to a corporate level. As a result of the regular James 5:16 process, unity and strength build the body growing it to a strong and loving stature (Eph. 3:16-17) as Christ intends (John 13:14). Consequently, that Christ-like stature manifests to the inhabitants of the Earth (John 13:35) who then witness the irresistible power of God at work.
Some questions we might need to ask ourselves:
Do I know any safe people?
Am I a safe person?
Am I authentic with others? Am I willing to learn to become authentic?
Do I have James 5:16 application in my life?
Is there someone or a small group where I can apply James 5:16?
How much judgment and condemnation do I hold against myself? Against others?
Am I willing to learn to apply and receive grace and truth instead?
Do I want healing?
Prayer: Lord, I need James 5:16 application. Show me who will join me in this, and make a way for it to happen as you lead me so that we can all experience healing in our lives. Amen.
John 13:10-17 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
James 5:16a Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
2 Corinthains 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Romans 14:23b whatever is not done in faith is sin.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
John 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
John 11:44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Ephesians 3:16-17 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Youtube teaching on John 13:10 and James 5:16-
The Power of the Cross and the Purpose of Confession
Youtube teaching on Pride and Grace-
Grace Rules~Flesh Drools