When something is ordinary, it is commonplace, customary, every day, habitual, and routine. When something is unordinary, it is rare, unusual, and uncommon.
I believe if we are to increasingly reflect how the Scriptures call us to live, these actions must become ordinary among believers in Christ. While we could list a multitude, here are four actions that deal specifically with our mouths, words, and relationships. In an upcoming post, I’ll deal with four other actions.
Confessing sin to fellow believers
James 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.
Too often, we seek to hide sin, or dress up the outside of our lives as if it is not there. But considering, we have been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, and not by our own effort, then there is no need to posture. We confess sin to one another, because in the light of Biblical fellowship, sin begins to lose its grip on our hearts.
So when sin is crouching at our door and ready to pounce, or in our shame, we are tempted to run and hide, we confess. We move our hearts into the light, because the Lord’s desire is freedom and healing. And according to James 5:16, that happens not because we remain silent and hide, but because of confession and prayer.
Praying for someone out loud and on the spot
James 5:16 calls us to confess our sins to one another, but also to pray for one another. And I love the promise of the second half of that verse…the prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.
Prayer is not pointless, nor powerless. Instead, prayer to our almighty God and loving Father in Heaven changes things, especially our own hearts. Too often, we say, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and then walk away from a conversation, and we may or may not follow through on that promise. What needs to become ordinary and commonplace is for us to stop and pray for someone right there. To put our hand on their shoulder, and present their request before the Lord (Psalm 5:1-3, Philippians 4:6).
You and I have no idea how the Lord will use the prayers of His people to bring about His purposes in lives. So let’s not treat it as an afterthought or something to be done later or in private. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 calls us to pray continually. Praying for someone out loud and on the spot, is one way we do that.
Confessing our weaknesses to one another and asking for help
Paul, the church planter, missionary, writer of much of the New Testament (AKA: great spiritual resume), wrote this in 2 Corinthians 12:9, But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Because we are bent toward pride and image management, we don’t naturally confess our weakness, let alone, ask for help. We’re Americans right! We are fiercely individualistic and love the stories of the self-made man or woman. But as Christ followers, we are called to live differently. We are inherently needy and dependent upon a gracious God. We are designed to live dependent upon Him, but also interdependently on one another in the faith family. See Acts 2:42-47.
So let’s confess our weakness, knowing His grace is sufficient. Let’s confess our weakness, knowing that through our weakness, His power is on display and He gets the glory.
And let’s ask for help, because of this truth in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.
Calling out sin in gentleness and in hopes of restoration
Galatians 6:1-2: Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. 2 Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
If you saw a friend, looking down at their phone, and unknowingly about ready to walk into traffic or a sign post, you’d say something. You wouldn’t knowingly watch them walk into danger and remain silent. Or you wouldn’t be watching it go down, and wishing someone else would say something. Instead, you’d be trying to get their attention because you love and care for them.
So why wouldn’t we do the same thing when it comes to spiritual matters and matters of the heart and life? Matters of not only great earthly significance, but eternal ones. We engage in those conversations, not out of self-righteousness (see log and speck teaching by Jesus in Matthew 7:3-5), nor do we avoid them out of the fear of man. Instead, we engage, being compelled by love, seeking to be full of grace and truth like Jesus, and with an overriding spirit of gentleness. And we also reject the temptation of codependency where we either excuse the sin or join them in it.
Proverbs 27:6 says, Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Words of truth, even in a spirit of gentleness can have a wounding affect. I know, because I’ve received some. But that is what Godly friends who love like Christ, do for one another. We are willing to ‘go there’ with one another, because we are people who live by faith, who trust the Lord’s Word and His ways, and who desire that others would love us enough to ‘go there’ with us as well.