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.  


   The Wild West brought about new kinds of heroes: the lone 
wolf, the independent pioneer, and the classic rugged individualist. 
No one could tame the untamed frontier like they could. They did 
not obey rules - they made them.  
   The Christian life is not an untamed frontier demanding Wild 
West heroes. Rather, it is a sanctuary for settlers who respect the 
boundaries. As you read this passage, look for the boundaries in which 
believers are to live.  
   Here James also discusses the nature of true wisdom; getting 
along with other people; faith and what it can do; and having the 
right perspective on the future. If you want to blaze a trail to God, 
this is a good spot from which to start.  
   Read James 3-5
   Getting close to God requires a transfer of ownership - a 
humble submission of our lives to him (James 4:7-10). Once that 
transaction takes place, we must continue the fight against the forces that 
draw us away from Christ. We must resist the devil and flee from him. 
We must embrace God's will and let go of our own evil desires. We 
must grieve our sinfulness rather than celebrate it. And we must 
purify ourselves.  
   To sign away your life won't mark you as a distinctly heroic 
person in most people's eyes. But it will lead to intimacy with God, 
and it will allow God to "lift you up" (4:10) - something he does 
not do for lone wolves. [The One Year Through the Bible Devotional 
by Dave Veerman] 

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] 


   Nancy Guthrie says she was shocked and shaken when she heard 
that a lifelong friend who had always been a person of integrity and 
a pillar of the church had left her husband and children and moved 
in with another man. One reason Nancy was so shaken was that she 
wanted to think she herself was above some sins. This news made her 
realize that attitude was dangerous.  
   When we've done something so wrong it makes us want to hide 
in shame, Guthrie says we think, How could I have done that? That 
isn't like me. Instead we should think, That's exactly like me. This 
just reveals the core of who I am.  
   One gifted and powerful man who succumbed to a sexual liaison 
that destroyed his career and wounded his marriage used the same 
words of shamed astonishment: "How could I have done that?"  
   Sometimes only the enormous consequences of our sins awaken 
us to the truth about ourselves. We are both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. 
Hyde. Until we recognize our sinful condition, we are vulnerable.  
   As Paul warned the Corinthians, "Let him who thinks he stands 
take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12, NKJV). We must contend 
with both our fallen nature and the enemy of our souls.  
   Jesus told Peter that Satan desired to sift him like wheat. 
What a fascinating, but chilling, revelation of the unseen war! Satan 
wants to sift us like wheat. He will use temptation, suffering, 
bitterness, or any other weapon he can to try to trip us up. 
   Jesus' promise to Peter in light of Satan's desire is equally 
fascinating: "I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should 
not fail" (Luke 22:32, NLT). Scripture tells us that Jesus prays for 
us, too, so we know how high the stakes are for each of us. We must 
therefore be prayerful and constantly alert.  
   Lord, sometimes I get a chilling glimpse of how Satan is 
after me and tempts me. Please garrison my soul and protect me against 
temptation, for I understand my weakness and call for your strength.  
   Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will 
flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. 
James 4:7-8, NLT [The One Year Book of Encouragement by Harold Myra] 


   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 paralyzed, 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] 


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