I have been learning and growing in Christ so much over the past few months. I have shared some of that via Facebook Live videos and I am still processing through so much more of it. I’ve had requests to share more videos as a devotional kind of thing, but I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for that. Only time will tell. I just want to share what God is laying on my heart at times.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
James 4:8a (HCSB)
That might seem like a nice Bible quote. You might read it and then go along with your day just as you had planned, but I want you to know that it is The Truth. I believe that The Bible is The Living Word of God. It is true. That is not why I say that verse is Truth. It is Truth because I have experienced it.
There is a difference between knowing something and knowing something. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, that’s because our language is limited in what it can express in written text. Knowing something in an informational sense as factual is one form of knowing it. Knowing something as truth is a kind of knowing that comes from experience. I can tell you that my wife is an incredibly selfless, kind, and loving person. You can believe me without really knowing her. When you meet her and get to know her, you begin to know her humility. You begin to experience her kindness and understand her selflessness. Her love is only experienced by being a part of her life.
As I have begun this deeper journey in my relationship with Jesus, I am getting to know The Truth of Him drawing close to me as I draw near to Him. As I seek [deeply long and desire] Him, I find [experience Him at a continually renewing way] Him. As I draw near to Him, He draws near to me.
How do we draw near to God? It seems like such an abstract idea that should be incredibly hard to grasp. God is not a tangible object that we should position our body next to in order to be close to Him. Let me share three ways to draw near to God, and they are all important parts of our faith journey.
It almost seems obvious, but prayer is key to drawing near to God. How often do we look at prayer as connecting with our Creator? If prayer is nothing more than blessing food before we eat, a rote prayer before we sleep, and a wish list of what we want to see Him do, then we are missing the point. Prayer involves worship: “Hallowed be Thy Name.” Prayer includes confession. We give thanks to our Savior, share our most difficult struggles, proclaim our joy and dream incredible dreams for His Kingdom through prayer. The most fierce spiritual battles are fought between “Our Father” and “In Jesus Name, Amen.” The Holy Spirit is at work within through prayer.
Let go of all that you hold on to. Give up your agenda. Lay yourself down as an offering to God and be consecrated [set apart, fully devoted, completely abandoned] to Him. If you have received salvation through Jesus Christ, you have been made a new creation. You are born again into the image of God. He designed you that way from the beginning of time. When Jesus said to “Give to God what is God’s,” He was saying to give yourself completely to Him. The image of God is on you, so you are His.
As we seek God through prayer, sometimes He will impress things on our hearts. The more we draw near to Him, the more often this happens because He is also drawing near to us. If you want to hear more clearly from Him, or more often, then go to what He has already spoken. The Word of God. The Bible. His Word is vital to our every need. We learn who we are and whose we are through Scripture. The story of our redemption is laid out from the beginning of time through the return of Christ, and it’s all in there.
Christian fiction books may have an entertaining value, but they are not the divine Word of God. Sermons preached from the pulpit may be drenched with The Holy Spirit, but we have been given the gift of God’s Word in order to engage with it on a personal and intimate level. Impress His Word on your heart and watch how much you begin to sense His drawing near to you.
We are not meant to take on life by ourselves. Yes, God is on our side and guides and protects us, but He also designed us to be in community with each other. He didn’t stop with Adam and just say, “Go for it.” He created Eve as well. Furthermore, He calls His Church “The Body of Christ.” Just as the body is made up of many parts, we make up the many parts of The Church. A hand cannot survive apart from the body. We are designed to be in community. I shared an entire message about that a few weeks ago, and you can check that out below if you want to dig into it even more.
If we are born again in the Image of God, then drawing near to each other in loving community is a part of drawing near to God. This is one place where a physical proximity to others does reflect The Truth in James 4:8.
He Will Draw Near To You
One I started writing this post, I had a completely different agenda. I wanted to share what I read from Isaiah and write about the conversations that I had with a couple old friends over breakfast this morning, but God had other plans. That’s the thing about drawing near to Him. He really does draw near to you and sometimes your plans change. If you have surrendered all to Jesus, you give Him the authority to veto your plans for His. Even when your plans seem small like the topic of a blog post, His plan is always better. His plan brings more glory to His Name and fulfills His plan for His Kingdom come.