“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a
Josh taught from the book of James this morning in Sunday School. It was a good lesson that he spent much time preparing. It challenged me in a couple of ways:
1) I was challenged in my repentance. There are too many days that I don’t spend time in confession of my sins and allow God to cleanse my hands and purify my heart.
2) I was challenged to examine my walk. Are there areas in which I need to sacrifice in order to draw near to God?
I realize Jesus loves me and there’s nothing I can do to diminish His love for me. That’s a settled fact. He drew me near to Him first. He loved me first. I get that. And that WHY is the foundation for desiring to draw near to God.
There is, inside me, a desire to love Him back and to “draw near to Him.” I want to recommit myself to waking up well before the kids. They are with me all day, so if I don’t have time alone with God in the early morning hours, it’s challenging to have that kind of time any other time of the day. Do I pray all throughout the day? Yes. Do I practice my scripture memory at different times of the day? Yes. But the uninterrupted time in God’s Word in the morning is priceless. I need to hear from Him. I need wisdom and guidance. I need to spend time with Him. I want to! So I’m recommitting to be consistent in my waking up earlier. It’s worth sacrificing sleep to be with God. Or maybe sacrificing reading another chapter of a book the night before so I can get enough sleep to wake up! I love being up so early that there’s nothing else I can do besides spend time with God—you know, when the grocery store is closed, no one will answer the phone at the doctor’ office if I called because they aren’t there, when it’s too early to cook or clean—I think you get my point.
And then throughout my day I need to allow for moments of quiet and reflection….instead of filling any down time with Facebook or blog articles or even books. Maybe God has something to speak to me about or maybe He wants to bring a verse to mind for a certain situation. I won’t hear that in my day if I am constantly absorbing mindless entertainment.
How does that practically look in my life? How do I intentionally draw near to God? It most definitely looks different for each person, but it’s vital for me to have a plan…to think ahead and prepare for these times. From setting my alarm to maybe purchasing a commentary or Bible dictionary or downloading a scripture memory app.
Here’s an example of having a heart for something and putting it into action: Whenever I talk with someone considering home schooling their children, I tell them they must know and write out and believe in their “why.” I know my personal “why” for home schooling, BUT I can’t just tell you why I am going to homeschool my kids and then not have a plan in place to teach them! That would be ludicrous and that type of reasoning won’t fly in any job or career!
Or what if you knew why you should save money, but you never actually planned and budgeted ways to do that? Would only knowing why help you? No. The practical application of what you know helps you get somewhere financially.
I can see that same principle holding true spiritually.
Do I know why I should draw near to God? Yes.
Do I know some “right” things to do to draw near to God? Yes.
Am I DOING them?
“Anyone who knows the right thing to do, but doesn’t do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17