“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” –James 5:16
What does it mean to be righteous? How do we become righteous? Does it mean simply “being good?” Or maybe it refers to being excessively “religious”- whatever that means. In fact, the true definition refers to being made right with God. The only way for this to happen is to acknowledge our own sinfulness and repent by trusting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
In other words, when we begin to follow Christ, He begins to change the lifestyle we’ve been living. So who is Jesus according to the Bible?
- He’s God’s Son who became man.
- He died for our sins to pay our penalty of death on the cross and to face the judgement of God that we deserve.
- In dying on the cross and rising again in three days, Christ conquered sin and death.
- Deciding to believe in faith that Christ is who He says He is and did what the Bible says He did, makes us right with God.
This is the beginning of righteousness. Not because of anything that we’ve done ourselves, but because of what Christ did for us. Righteousness is maintained by trusting in Jesus day by day and by obeying God’s word and will for our lives.
The righteous man of prayer that James describes in verse 16 is the prophet Elijah. You can read more of his story in 1 Kings chapter 18, but Elijah was a man who walked with God. He trusted and obeyed God even when it didn’t make sense and wasn’t popular. As a result, Elijah witnessed miraculous answers to prayer.
In the same way, we, too, can be made right with God. It starts by giving our lives to Christ and trusting in what He’s done for us on the cross. It begins with choosing to follow Jesus. Are you ready to be made right with God? To be made righteous? Take the first step today.