I have not been much of a wanderer, at least not geographically. I have been privileged to put down roots in the same place for nearly 50 years. Those with whom I worked in the 60s still know where to find me and when they do it’s almost as though they expect to hear me ask, “So, how’s it going between you & God?” If things are good they want me to know it. If they are wandering emotionally or spiritually they usually are looking for my reassurance than God hasn’t moved, he loves them and wants them to come closer.
Jms. 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.”
My study Bible says “’wander from the truth’ means to stray into sinful patterns or to give evidence of the absence of a saving faith.” This is significant wandering, not the frequent failing into which we all fall. We definitely need to remain accountable to each other for that and support one another in our desire to fail less frequently.
But this wandering is serious stuff: sinful patterns… giving evidence there is no saving faith. Encouraging someone to turn from such error, influencing people to walk in the light, is the business of every follower of Jesus – not just those who get paid for it.
There are little and large ways every day that people are encouraged to turn away from error and embrace truth. They remember the lives of respected, faithful followers who love them. A bit of scripture or a valuable phrase from a song comes back to their mind. Truths spoken by a godly parent long ago resurfaces. This is God’s Holy Spirit working to convict the heart of sin.
God’s Spirit also uses the words, always loving, sometimes gentle, sometimes very firm, of other believers straightforwardly to challenge the course of one headed for destruction. I think of the bread the Teacher said we should cast upon the waters, telling us we would find it again after many days (Ecc. 11:1). The words are spoken, yielded up as a gift to God, asking him to use them to turn this sinner from the error of his way. Sometimes we get to see results, sometimes not; but the attempt is made in genuine love for the individual and for God.
It is my desire to influence people to walk in the light. That’s why I write this blog, mentor, teach and post on Face Book (kitty jones mt. gilead). It is why I seek counsel from older, wiser saints, confessing my sinful ways and relishing their prayers for me.
It is not the reason I carve out time to spend in God’s Word, prayer and meditation each day. I do that because I, myself, am such a needy creature – desperate to hear from God, to see him more clearly and to pour forth my worship and adoration. When I miss a day I feel like my lungs will burst with desire for another breath of oxygen.
I do hope it all results in a life that can be used of God to turn sinners from the error of their way, to save them from death.