For the first post of this new series, I want to share with you why I chose to name the series “Draw Closer.” Before I explain, allow me to give a little background. I struggled with selecting a title having gone through a few over the last few weeks, but they did not sit right. It was not until a couple of weeks ago that the title, “Draw Closer” entered my heart, and I knew this was the right title. I knew because this year in particular I have been seeking a closer relationship with God. I have been getting to know him more intimately this year than in past years through prayer, through worship, and through studying His Word.
During the summer, I had been doing a Bible study that a friend introduced to me. FUN FACT: the decision to do this series stems from choosing verses that I studied this summer that God spoke to me through. Next week’s post will be one of those verses.
That brings me back to the series title. After I considered, “Draw Closer,” I believe that God was leading me to do James 4:8 as the initial post to this series, for the title is rooted in the verse. James says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” It is so important to note that James tells us that we as Christians must draw/come near to God FIRST. Have you ever felt as though your relationship with God was stagnant or distant? Maybe, you did not feel as though God was speaking to you. I have been there.
The reason behind any distance between God and us is due to a change on OUR end. For example, say in the early months of this year, you were reading God’s Word and you were getting insights daily or weekly while reading. Then, as the year went on, something changed. Maybe, you did not feel like reading every day anymore because it meant that you had to wake up early, and you rather sleep a few extra minutes before work or school. Maybe, you started feeling as if it were a chore; and so, you trudged through the verses and you immediately shut your Bible once you read your verse quota for that day. Consequently, your time with God dwindles more and more as you reach the end of the year. So what happened? In the examples I gave, feelings dictated when it was time to read God’s Word and motivation was the issue. You might be saying, “Sometimes, I just don’t feel like reading and studying scripture because I have things to do.”
I understand; however, should those things take priority above our relationship with God? I want to show you how a different translation words the second half of verse eight. James says, “purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” I believe that it is necessary to preface what I say next by first stating that there is nothing wrong with enjoying things like a sport(s), a good book(s), a good movie(s), or a good TV show(s). Nor is there anything wrong with prioritizing your family and friends, your career, and the list can go on. What is a problem is when those other things and people compete and DETRACT from spending time with God. We have to ask ourselves are we putting our relationship with God first. If you are not sure, do not hesitate to ask God about it. He knows and since you took the first step by coming to him, he will come to you.
You might be wondering, “why do I have to make the first move?” Well, one of the most popular verses that many know —even those who are not believers may have heard it too— is John 3:16. It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Understandably, we tend to focus on the first half of that sentence, for it explains just how much God loved us. Yet, the next half explains WHY God did it. He did it so that you and I would not HAVE to pay for our own sins. So that, we could CHOOSE God by believing that His son died for us and rose again. God will never force himself upon us. We have a choice to do things our own way or choose to ask God for His will to be done in our lives.
With that said, whenever you do not feel like reading your Bible (trust me those feelings will come) instead of giving in to those feelings, seek God in that moment through prayer. Ask God to give you a focused mind and heart as you read His Word that day, and ask God for revelation as you read. When you do, your feelings will shift from doing whatever it was you wanted to do in that moment, to wanting to spend time with God.
What do you think?
What are some ways that we can “Draw Closer” to God?
I believe that God points out to each of us individually what he wants each of us to do.
Feel free to share your thoughts. I will be reading and responding! 🙂
All Bible verses are from Holy Bible: English Standard Version, New International Version and New Living Translation