No Fear Here

James 4: 8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

This is a very simple little verse and easy to understand. You would have to do considerable work to complicate it. So, my question then is why are we not all very close to God?

I see two answers, one pretty obvious. The obvious answer is that we have not drawn near to Him. God will always let you be in charge of your relationship with Him. He is gentle and kind so He will never force himself on you. I have heard it said that each of us is just as close to God as we have chosen to be. That is pretty uncomfortable to hear but is probably true.

But some people do honestly seek God and still haven’t the closeness they wish to have with Him. So here is answer two. Many of us are afraid to allow anyone to get too close to us. We pull away from relationships that are close to the heart. We are afraid of exposing the tender parts of our hearts. So often we try to act tough. We act so strong, but to the wise these are screaming declarations that we are broken and scared. The stronger we pretend to be, the more the educated can see that we are really hiding our tenderness. Now, if we are afraid to let people close to us, how much harder is it for us to let God into the most tender and intimate chambers of ourselves? How are we to expose our hurts and injuries? Just allowing someone to see the fragility of who we really are is threatening enough but God can see clearly, and we know it. We can lie to people, but we cannot lie to God. He recognizes a lie and sees the truth. So, what ends up happening is that we seek God with our mouths, but our hearts remain closed, as do our ears.

Here is the good news of the gospel. God heals. He heals broken hearts and that is all that is keeping you from enjoying deep, intimate fellowship with Him. Isn’t that great news? God can fix all of this. Ok, you have to have a little bit of courage. Certainly, you have courage as big as a salt crystal. It doesn’t take very much. You don’t want to be afraid all your life and keep running away from your problems, do you? That is such a painful existence. If you can have courage even as much as a grain of sand, God can fix it all. And it is, honestly, a lot less painful than living the life that you are living now. I compare it to having a splinter in your foot. Are you really going to live with that splinter the rest of your life? It hurts all the time, every day yet God can remove it so easily. And you probably won’t even feel Him remove it. You are just afraid, but what you are afraid of is nothing. You are afraid of a hurt that you will probably never feel. If you do feel any pain at all, believe me, it is less than the hurt that you suffer every day and put your family and friends through. Also, any pain suffered with God healing you is so short lived as to not even be deemed significant. Just have a little tiny bit of courage and a little bit of trust and you can truly be set free. You will enjoy your life so much more and you can become intimate, close friends with God. If you will let Him in, He will be your constant companion and your best friend. That is a really great place to be, and you can have it.

I want that for you. I want you to have all that is your right. We can talk about being kings and queens in Christ but how many of us are living the life Jesus ordained for us? You are entitled to live in Yahweh’s presence. Draw near to Him. Be not afraid!

Arm’s Reach

James 4: 8

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

I have been trying to answer the question, “Why should we seek the Lord?” God tells us to but at a more basic level, what motivates people to seek God? For me, it was an intense frustration at not being able to hear His voice clearly when other people could. That exasperation drove me 2500 miles to the other side of the country to rectify what seemed wrong to me.

There was a hunger within me to know the Father. Does not everyone have that desire? Was it my pastor who stirred up the desire within me the way the Apostle Paul did with Timothy? This idea that if we seek God, He will reach out to us has been a driving force in my teachings and in my own experiences. The experience I had in Anaheim, CA didn’t satisfy me. It made me want more of Him. I tasted of His presence in a way I never had before and that showed me more of what was possible. You get close enough to see behind the curtain and I want it all. The closer we draw to Him the more we want to draw closer.

This verse reminds me of Michelangelo’s painting of the hands of God and man which is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Man rather lazily extends His hand towards God. He is almost cavalier in his reach. You get the sense about God that He has been waiting a long time for the man to reach out, that He has been holding out His hand just waiting for us to reach out and take it. It seems God has been enthusiastically reaching out towards man waiting for man to reciprocate.

Looking at the painting makes me want to replace the man. In a sense, we all get that chance. What will we do with it? Will we lounge comfortably reaching only as far as is comfortable? Who will leap to their feet and pursue God? Is that promise that when you seek God, you will get Him sufficient motivation for anyone? What does it take to motivate us? Is it the reward? Probably not. It is more likely the pain of not having what you want. However, imbedded in there is the belief that you can actually have it. I believed God spoke to people and I could not understand why I was not hearing Him speak to me. If there is a gift of God, I want it and I will not be denied so I guess it is the sense of missing out on something that I can have that drives me. Being in His presence is worth everything. It is the greatest of all joys but maybe we need more pain to drive us. Maybe being left out moves us more than the promise of gain.

I don’t know how to motivate anyone but myself. I wish I did. I would do everything I can to get each of you to seek God at a greater level because I know how much it would bless you. For now, I can just say, the rewards are certainly worth it. You will find love and acceptance like you never have before. You will find release and peace within your soul. This message is for Christians. Seek more of God. Insist He give you more. He wants you to make a demand of Him and you have the promise right here in today’s verse. He cannot deny His own word so He must comply. Go Get Him, and don’t stop until He has gotten you.


Closer to Thee

James 4: 8

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Do you desire a close personal relationship with God? Do you really want to be one of the people that talks with God, rather than at Him? Well, you can be. That kind of closeness and relationship is available for as many as who desire it. You have to initiate that kind of rapport though. God has given us free will and He is not going to violate yours. He is not going to force you into a close friendship with Him. But, if you initiate it, then He will joyously join you.

But how do you really draw near to God? The first and easiest thing to do is to spend time in His word. His word is part of Himself. When you read and search the word of God, you search the heart and mind of God. You will learn a lot about Him and you will find Him in those pages. 

Secondly, spend time talking to Him. Forget traditional ideas of prayer. Just talk to Him like He was your best friend. He likes being part of everything that is important to you. Tell Him everything. Talk to Him about everything.

Lastly, learn to praise Him and be appreciative of all that He does for you. In the beginning you might not be aware of how many things He does for you in a day but as your relationship grows, you will begin to see His fingerprints on many things in your life. When you sincerely tell any friend how important they are to your life, it always draws the two of you closer. Learn to express your gratitude.

As you begin to do any of these things you will find your relationship with Him growing and becoming closer. It all begins with drawing closer to Him.