James 4:8, 9 - Drawing Near To God.
James 4:8, 9 - Drawing Near To God.
James 4:8, 9 (NKJV) Draw near to God and He will draw near to
you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you
double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to
mourning and your joy to gloom.
CONTEXT AND PERSPECTIVE
The psalmist said, "But it is good for me to draw near to God"
(Ps. 73:28, KJV) James gives five ways to do this: (1) Submit to God
(James 4:7). Yield to his authority and will, commit your life to him
and his control, and be willing to follow him. (2) Resist the devil
(James 4:7). Don't allow Satan to entice and tempt you. (3) Wash your
hands ... and purify your hearts (that is, lead a pure life) (James
4:8) . Be cleansed from sin, replacing your desire to sin with your
desire to experience God's purity. (4) Grieve and mourn and wail in
sincere sorrow for your sins (James 4:9) . Don't be afraid to express
deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done. (5) Humble yourself
before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10; 1 Pet. 5:6). [The
One Year Bible Companion re Jam.4:8]
There may be times when God seems far away. You may feel as if
your prayers go unheard. James said there is a simple reason for this
and a solution. If you are far from God, it is because your sin has
separated you from Him.
God is unchanging. His character stays absolutely holy. His
faithfulness remains constant; it is we who change. We allow sin into our
lives. We choose our own direction. We spend less and less time with
Him in Bible study and prayer. Then one day we realize that we have
gradually grown distant from God. The solution, according to James, is
straightforward. We are to draw near to God. As we realize our need to be closer
to the Father and we begin to return to Him, He meets us even as
the father hurried to greet his prodigal son (Lu 15:20).
Drawing near to God requires you to take two actions. First,
you must cleanse your hands (Is 1:15). You must cleanse your way of
living. If you have been actively engaged in sin, you must renounce it.
If you have done anything to offend or hurt someone, you must make
it right. Second, you are to purify your heart (Ps 51:10). You must
make certain your attitudes, thoughts, and motives are right in God's
eyes and are in harmony with God's word. Jesus warned that you cannot
serve two masters (Mt 6:24). It is impossible to love anything else as
much as you love God and still please Him.
If God seems distant, do what is necessary to cleanse your
hands, purify your heart, and draw near to Him. [Experiencing God Day
by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby re James 4:8]
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
Some of us have tried to have a daily quiet time and have not
been successful, Others of us have a hard time concentrating. And all
of us are busy. So rather than spend time with God, listening for
his voice, we'll let others spend time with him and then benefit
from their experience. Let them tell us what God is saying. After
all, isn't that why we pay preachers?...
If that is your approach, if your spiritual experiences are
secondhand and not firsthand, I'd like to challenge you with this thought:
Do you do that with other parts of your life?...
You don't do that with vacations ... You don't do that with
romance .... You don't let someone eat on your behalf, do you? [There are]
certain things no one can do for you.
And one of those is spending time with God. [Grace For The
Moment SB By Max Lucado re Jam. 4:8]
The moments when I truly live are the moments when I act with my
whole will. Never allow a truth of God that is brought home to your
soul to pass without acting on it, not necessarily physically, but in
will. Record it, with ink or with blood. The feeblest saint who
transacts business with Jesus Christ is emancipated the second he acts;
all the almighty power of God is on his behalf. We come up to the
truth of God, we confess we are wrong, but go back again; then we come
up to it again, and go back; until we learn that we have no
business to go back. We have to go clean over on some word of our
redeeming Lord and transact business with Him. His word 'come' means
'transact.' "Come unto Me." The last thing we do is to come; but everyone
who does come knows that that second the supernatural life of God
invades him instantly. The dominating power of the world, the flesh and
the devil is paralysed, not by your act, but because your act has
linked you on to God and His redemptive power. [My Utmost for His
Highest by Oswald Chambers re Jam. 4:8]
The power that set the galaxies spinning, that holds the earth
in place, that calmed the seas, that turned water into wine--that
power is in your life. Why would we go through life trying to do
things in our own strength? And yet, so many of us fall into that very
temptation. Be different. Thank God for his power at work in your life and
on your behalf. Rely on him instead of yourself. [The One Year
Bible for New Believers re Eph.1:19, 20]