“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” – James 4:8a
I’ve been a part of – and in my share of – conflict. When a conflict is resolved, it usually ends in a hand shake or even a hug. Rarely do people in conflict come near enough to touch one another unless it’s in battle.
James gives us a list of things that prevent us from drawing near to God. I find that the majority are things pertaining to me getting my way. Whether it be my desires for pleasure, my being too prideful to ask, spending on my own pleasure etc., I usually receive calls from men who are struggling with bondage issues or troubled souls and the complaint is almost always “I have no peace,” or they assess their lives and feel as if they’re in a hole and can’t get out. My answer is always the same, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
It doesn’t take long before that person is already feeling better, when they realize we have together drawn close to God just by sharing scripture. I believe when we are seeking God in His Word, or when we are in fellowship with believers and acknowledging Him, we awaken the Spirit of God in our hearts and He then provides us with all the fullness of His power. I think James is guiding us through a routine of ridding the things that keep us from experiencing true peace and joy. Sometimes, if I’m speaking with someone who has been away from Godly practices and has been indulging in fleshly lust, it is better to help lead them to repentance and cleansing before they can begin to have hope. There is this process of cleansing, purifying, lamenting, and humbling that needs to take place in order to experience the peace and joy which restores Hope and we then we can truly Love.
Whenever I find myself lacking the things that I desire of God, I feel empty and want to return to the rightful place that God provides through His Son Jesus who gives us His Holy Spirit. I don’t usually equate my poor choices to my current condition. I find that when I respond to the prodding of the conviction of the Holy Spirit, that I can then turn from my sin, cleanse myself with confession, and allow the Spirit to purify me which is a humbling experience.
These practices are useful to apply to our own lives but also can aide when a brother comes to us for advice. When that happens I always say, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Amen!
Written by Rob Russomano: Rob Russomano is married to Terri, he is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a full time staff member. He is also available as a speaker of the grace of God with a message of Hope for church events. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily Quote: “We are only safe when we wisely make use of all good advantages that we have access to. By going out of God’s ways we go out of His government, and so lose our good frame of mind, and find ourselves overspread quickly with a contrary disposition. When we draw near to Christ (James 4:8), in His ordinances, He draws near to us.” – Richard Sibbes
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“Oh, satisfy early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!” Psalm 90:14