How close are you right now to your Heavenly Father? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, what number would you assign to yourself?
Before we move forward I need to make it clear that the target audience of this post is for Christians; in no way can we earn our salvation, it is a gift from God.
A quick read of the Epistle of James will tell you that James was very plain spoken, he did not mince words. James gets right to the point and tells it like it is. Our scripture text is a perfect example of this style of writing.
In James 4:8a it says “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” In this promise from God we have the classic action / reaction. The bible clearly states our spiritual health is directly connected to our own efforts to separate from the world and live a life pleasing to God.
How close is “nigh”?
My question, as I’m sure you know, is not in the literal sense; we are talking about a relationship with Almighty God. Going all the way back to the Garden of Eden a thought was planted in our old man nature that seeks for an unholy balance between doing enough to go to heaven and still answering the siren song of the world. Such a thought did not come from, or is condoned by, God so we have but one other suspect to pin this on.
How destructive would it be to a marriage if we took the stance “I just want to love them enough so they won’t leave me”? How about “I want to love my children just enough so they will still call me their father”. Such thoughts would doom a relationship before it hardly began. So I ask you “How can we infer that we want to love God just enough to slide into heaven”? I used the word “infer” because we would never say something like this out loud; unfortunately the actions of many are saying just that.
Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Jesus was addressing the scribes and Pharisees, the religious leaders of Israel. These same religious leaders were well educated in the Law of Moses. They were sticklers for carrying out the laws. What was missing? They did not give God their heart. To them obeying the law was all duty. They had it backwards and they are not alone. Many today try to do the same thing. Relationships cannot be built on duty; devotion is the only means to developing a good relationship. God wants us to love him first; love will trigger a desire to do those things pleasing to Him. Love will cause you to care for your spouse and to even put their needs before your own. Love will cause your children to look up to you even when you have to correct them.
All healthy relationships start with, and continue by, good communication. Psa 145:18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Prayer is our lifeline to God. There are several components to an effective prayer but let’s keep this simple… Talk to God and let Him know your inner most thoughts. “Shouldn’t we praise Him and honor Him?” Absolutely, but don’t forget that God wants a relationship with us, talk to Him. In the morning let God know your hopes for the day. At night let God know your successes and failures.
Have you ever asked your teenage son “How was your day?” only to hear “fine”? How helpful was that? How about your wife; you know she likes to hear about your day? Would you recite the same thing every evening and think that is good enough? How then can we possibly think God would be happy with the same old prayer day after day.
Read God’s Word
Psa 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
If on your wedding day your new Father-In-Law gave you a book and said “This is everything you need to know to make my daughter happy” would you read it? The bible contains everything we need to know to make God happy. How can we possibly pass on such an opportunity?
What’s My Motivation?
Don’t ever forget what God did for you. Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
I don’t ever want to get over the joy of my salvation. I remember what I was when the Lord saved me; I was miserable. Outwardly I was carrying on but on the inside I was a stone, no hope and no peace. Then, I met the Master, and now I am no longer the same.
If after due consideration you realize your service to God is much more about duty than devotion I have some good news… Psa 34:18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Call out to God, bear your soul and ask forgiveness. God wants to restore our fellowship with Him; He wants to heal the broken heart and see us happy again.