How can we draw near to God?
There are often situations in our lives when God feels distant, even absent.
These are moments when our prayers go unanswered or at least not answered the way we expected. These are situations when we may feel intense physical or emotional pain and struggle with feelings of loneliness and abandonment.
Often, when we suffer from depression, we may also feel God is far away from us.
Also, when we choose a path of disobedience and do things we know are contrary to God’s will and Word, we feel detached from the Lord.
How to Draw Near to God
Throughout the Bible, God’s voice is constantly wooing us back to Him.
In the Old Testament, one of God’s recurring invocations through the prophets was “Come back to Me!” We find this exhortation straight from God’s heart in the New Testament, too.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8 ESV)
It is possible to wander away from God and it is also possible to draw near to Him. It becomes clear from the text that we need to undertake some actions if we want to experience God’s intimate nearness.It is possible to wander away from God and it is also possible to draw near to Him. Learn how here. #encouragement #trustGod #spiritualgrowth Click To Tweet
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Draw Near to God through Repentance
The first important step we can make is repentance. One of the main reasons to feel distant from God and not enjoy an intimate fellowship with Him is simply the presence of sin in our lives.
These could be sinful actions, but more often, these are sinful attitudes and thoughts. We may harbor unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment in our hearts.
We may insist on our ways, nurturing pride and selfishness. This is all offensive to God and builds a wall between us and Him.
We need to ask the Holy Spirit every day to convict us and expose our hidden sins so we can repent and live in the light. Here is a wonderful prayer we can pray:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Repentance is not just being sorry, but it is a change–a change of mind, a change of heart, and finally, a change of behavior.Repentance is not just being sorry, but it is a change–a change of mind, a change of heart, and finally, a change of behavior. #repentance #Biblestudy #encouragement Click To Tweet
Draw Near to God through Purifying Our Hearts and Minds
The second part of the verse speaks of another step we can take in God’s direction – the purification of our hearts and minds.
This purification is not a one-time decision, but a constant devotion and choice.
How and from what do we purify our hearts and minds?
The main thing we need to purify our hearts from is double-mindedness. To be double-minded means not to trust God fully, to have reserves, and to harbor unbelief and mistrust.
When we are double-minded, our beliefs about God’s character, love, faithfulness, and promises are shaky. When life is good, we trust God and believe He is good too and loves us. But when we experience hardship and pain, we change our opinions and find it difficult to trust Him.
When we approach God with an attitude of suspicion and mistrust, we can’t connect to Him and receive from Him what we need.Double-mindedness prevents our faith from maturing and stops our spiritual growth. #spiritualgrowth #Biblestudy #encouragement Click To Tweet
The Cure of Double-Mindedness–Cultivating a Steadfast Mind
This is what God told Jeremiah about the prophet’s double-mindedness toward God and his inability to receive healing:
Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. (Jeremiah 15:18-19)
The opposite of double-mindedness is to cultivate a steadfast mind that trusts the Lord without reserves. We cultivate such a mind when we fill our minds with the truths in God’s Word and let these truths transform our thinking.
A believer with a steadfast mind stands firm and is not shaken by emotions and circumstances. He or she can come to God open-hearted and can receive from His Spirit.
The steadfast mind enlarges our capacity to get nourished and sustained by God and to experience His presence in a transformative way.
The Promise–God Will Draw Near to Us
If we take these steps to draw near to God, God will reward our efforts and He Himself will draw near to us. Isn’t this an awesome promise?
We are not alone in our desire and movement toward God. He responds and reacts to the heart that is seeking Him, revealing more of Him and making Him known in tangible ways.
We are called into a loving relationship with our Creator, to an intimate and passionate journey toward His heart. Will you draw near to Him today?God responds and reacts to the heart that is seeking Him, revealing more of Him and making Him known in tangible ways. #trustGod #encouragement #spiritualgrowth Click To Tweet
A Powerful Resource to Help You Draw Near to God
Check out this devotional to help you find new courage and strength and draw near to God in different challenging situations. The book contains devotions, focusing on 7 major areas of life, selected scripture, and scripture-based prayer after each devotion.
More Encouragement for You
If you need more resources and encouragement to help you draw near to God, I can highly recommend these books. Check them out.
Trusting God in All the Things: 90 Devotions for Finding Peace in Your Every Day by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk
Make Up Your Mind: Unlock Your Thoughts, Transform Your Life by Denise Dubois Pass and Michelle Nietert
Transforming Your Thought Life by Sarah Geringer
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow by David Jeremiah
Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics by William Lane Craig
Faith Talk: Christian Women & The Gospel by Heather Hart and contributing authors
Hidden Manna on a Country Road by Sarah Geringer
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