James 4:8 - Drawing Near To God.
James 4:8 - Drawing Near To God.
James 4:8 (NKJV) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
1. IMPORTANCE OF HUMILITY [V. 6]
James 4:1-10: James writes harsh words, but they have a noble
purpose: to cultivate humility in the hearts and minds of his readers.
Why is that important? Because humility positions us to receive the
best God has to offer us. He comes near to those who are humble and
lifts them up at the proper time. God opposes the proud - and
apparently withholds favor from them - but he generously gives grace to the
humble. The implication of these verses is that our attitudes toward
ourselves go a long way toward determining the degree and consistency with
which we experience God and his goodness. When we see ourselves
humbly, God can bless us lavishly without ruining us in the process.
[NIV Once A Day Bible]
2. IMPORTANCE OF SURRENDER [V. 7]
A preacher I once heard referred to the Ephraimites in Psalm
78:11 as "the original quitters." What an indictment. The Ephraimites
live on, you know; they are to be found in the rank and file of many
a modern-day congregation. They look fine in church with a hymn
book and a Bible in their hands, but let the hot rays of temptation
beat upon them--and they run. They surrender to temptation because
they have never learned how to surrender to God. When We Surrender To
God, Then We Need Not Surrender To Anything Else. [Every Day With
Jesus Bible with Selwyn Hughes devotional re Psalm 78:11]
3. IMPORTANCE OF DRAWING NEAR [V. 8]
Living in close companionship with God ... Really, when it
comes down to it, there are only two positions in life--close to God or
far away from Him ... problems often come because I had chosen not to
remain close to Him. For me there is now only one thing that
matters--staying close to God."
How are things with you at this moment? Do you feel close to
God? If you don't, then let me put what I want to say in the words of
a wayside pulpit that arrested my attention some years ago: "If
you feel that God is far away, guess who moved?" [Every Day With
Jesus Bible with Selwyn Hughes devotional mod]
Come close to God ... James 4:8
Have you ever looked at a blade of grass, a spider's web, or
a waterfall as an expression of God's creativity? Have you seen
nature's seasons and trends not for what they are in themselves but for
what they reveal of the heart that made them? Have you ever just
stopped and noticed the divine dream unfolding around you? All of these
- observing creation, listening for whispers of God's voice or
trying to put your finger on His pulse, absorbing the marvels of His
world - are means to become more aware of His Presence. When we notice
these things, and especially when they spark a conversation with Him,
we are drawing close to God.
There are two major aspects in experiencing God's Presence:
increasing our awareness of Him, and His approach to us. The first is our
responsibility, the second His. Both are expressed in James 4:8, where we are
told to draw close to God and are assured that He will draw close to
us. But it's harder than it seems.
We let busyness distract us from experiencing God. Our daily
routines and to-do lists are His rivals for our attention, and we often
let them win. He can work in ways that drive us to seek Him, but He
would rather that we come to Him because we want to than because He
told us to or gave us few other options. Drawing close is meant to be
an act of love. And love, if it's real, is always voluntary.
Your side of the "Presence equation" is to draw near to God.
In every way you can imagine, do that. Then see how He responds to
Father, I want to notice You - everything about You. I want
to stop and notice any evidence of Your work, Your voice, and Your
Presence that I can find. As I observe You, please make Yourself even
more observable. And draw me close. [The One Year Experiencing God's
Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen]
... and God will come close to you. James 4:8
It's a familiar refrain: "If God seems far away, who moved?"
The implication is that He's always there, and we're the ones who
created the distance. And while that's true in terms of His omnipresence
- He's everywhere all the time - it isn't necessarily true with
regard to His available or manifest Presence. In experience, He is
closer to us at some times than He is at others. And it isn't always
because we drifted in the opposite direction.
We can make ourselves more aware of the ways God is moving
and working all around us, but we can also attract Him to move
toward us. As potential marriage partners instinctively know the rules
of attraction, we can know what appeals to Him and invite Him into
deeper intimacy. We don't earn His favor or His Presence - that's not
even an option - but relational closeness isn't a matter of "earning"
anyway. It's a matter of desire, commitment, and level of interaction.
When we know the attitudes that warm God's heart, we can clothe
ourselves in them. And when we draw close to Him, He draws close to us.
Notice what appeals to God: faith, humility, hunger for Him,
honesty and authenticity, obedience from the heart, and many more
attitudes you can find in Scripture. Granted, fallen human beings can't
manufacture spiritual characteristics without His help. But we are clearly
told to put on the right attitudes, so we bear a certain
responsibility and initiative to do so. Seek Him in such ways, and you will
find Him seeking you out too.
Lord, I know we can't come to You unless You draw us. But You
also don't come to us unless we draw near to You. However that mutual
attraction works, I want more of it. Please come close. [The One Year
Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen]
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. James 4:8
One day early in her mission service in India, as Amy
Carmichael sat under a tree studying her Tamil grammar, she had a growing
sense of a listener, a presence she could not ignore. She recognized
the Lord and listened with Him - to the gaping needs of the country,
the blood crying out from the ground, the calling of a people to
Himself. Time stood still. The presence was all that mattered.
Of her later work with orphans, young girls serving as temple
prostitutes, and boys roaming the streets, Carmichael wrote that she
sometimes saw Jesus kneeling alone in prayer for them, and she would go
and kneel with Him. She sensed an unspoken communion with Him in His
love and compassion for the unlovely, broken, wounded people of the
world. No words needed to be exchanged in this spiritual conversation;
it was a blending of hearts to accomplish divine purposes. She drew
close to God, and He drew close to her.
The voice of God is often far deeper than words, and
sometimes even deeper than pictures or images. He has ways of making His
heartbeat known to those whose hearts are inclined toward His. The
sensitive spirit will not insist on breaking the conversation down into
words. Words might interrupt the conversation altogether.
Heart-to-heart knowledge goes deeper and must not be cheapened by trying to
define it. In God's presence, the best response is simply to embrace
the profound work He is doing, to yield our hearts to His impulses,
and to accept that His love is indescribable and beyond
understanding. In that yielding, He expresses the inexpressible and imparts the
infinite flow of His own feelings. And the hearer knows He has spoken,
even though He has not spoken a word.
Lord, may I know You to that extent in the depths of my
being. Work Your heart into the depths of mine, even when no words can
describe what You have placed there. Share Your deepest impulses with me.
[The One Year Hearing His Voice Devotional by Chris Tiegreen]
Spending time alone with Me is essential for your well-being. It
is not a luxury or an option; it is a necessity. Therefore, do not
feel guilty about taking time to be with Me. Remember that Satan is
the accuser of believers. He delights in heaping guilt feelings upon
you, especially when you are enjoying My Presence. When you feel
Satan's arrows of accusation, you are probably on the right track. Use
your shield of faith to protect yourself from him. Talk with Me about
what you are experiencing, and ask Me to show you the way forward.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to Me, and I
will come near to you. (Rev. 12:10; Eph. 6:16; Jam. 4:7, 8) [Jesus
Calling by Sarah Young]
Demonstrate your trust in Me by sitting quietly in My
Presence. Put aside all that is waiting to be done, and refuse to worry
about anything. This sacred time together strengthens you and prepares
you to face whatever the day will bring. By waiting with Me before
you begin the day's activities, you proclaim the reality of My
living Presence. This act of faith - waiting before working - is noted
in the spirit world, where your demonstration of trust weakens
principalities and powers of darkness.
The most effective way to resist evil is to draw near Me.
When you need to take action, I will guide you clearly through My
Spirit and My Word. The world is so complex and overstimulating that
you can easily lose your sense of direction. Doing countless
unnecessary activities will dissipate your energy. When you spend time with
Me, I restore your sense of direction. As you look to Me for
guidance, I enable you to do less but accomplish more. (Luke 12:22-26;
Ephesians 6:12 NKJV; Proverbs 16:3) [Jesus Calling by Sarah Young]
Thank Me frequently as you journey through today. This
practice makes it possible to pray without ceasing, as the apostle Paul
taught. If you are serious about learning to pray continually, the best
approach is to thank Me in every situation. These thankful prayers
provide a solid foundation on which you can build all your other
prayers. Moreover, a grateful attitude makes it easier for you to
communicate with Me.
When your mind is occupied with thanking Me, you have no time
for worrying or complaining. If you practice thankfulness
consistently, negative thought patterns will gradually grow weaker and weaker.
Draw near to Me with a grateful heart, and My Presence will fill you
with Joy and Peace. (1Th. 5:16-18; Jam. 4:8; Rom. 15:13) [Jesus
Calling by Sarah Young]
Use your trials and troubles to draw closer to Me. Whenever you
start to feel distressed, turn that around by talking with Me. Let
pain and problems remind you of your constant need for Me. Create a
collection of brief prayers, such as: "Help me, Jesus. Fill me with your
Peace, Show me Your way." These requests are spiritual nutrients - soul
vitamins. The more you use them, the healthier and happier you will be.
(Psa. 27:11; Jam. 1:2; 4:7, 8; Psa. 143:8) [Jesus Today by Sarah
I watch you laboring and fretting and anxiously striving to
achieve things for me and my kingdom. Hear me. Your work is not my
primary concern. Your work is now, has always been, and always will be
secondary to your relationship with me.
What you do will flow out of your relationship with me as
irrigation streams flow out of a deep, clear, powerful river. The river
(the relationship) will set your motives and supply your strength.
Then your work will flow forth to honor me. Any time you allow your
work to come ahead of your relationship with me, you risk working
against me and my purposes.
Draw near to me and rest. Seek my will at every small turn.
Listen for my voice. Be filled with my Spirit. Then work with joy and
abandon! The Source of your power, God [PostCards from Heaven by Claire
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE:
LINKS WORTH CHECKING OUT:
Importance of Choice:
http://creationhealth.com/CREATION-Health/Choice [click on video]
Seeking God Made Real: http://vimeo.com/31489782
Musical Devotional On Christian Living:
LINKS FOR BIBLE STUDY:
Lifting Up Jesus Bible Studies: http://www.liftingupjesus.net/
Amazing Facts Bible Studies:
Discover Bible Studies: http://studies.itiswritten.com/discover/
LINKS FOR PROPHECY SEMINARS
Revelation Today Series by Pastor John Bradshaw:
Prophecies Decoded Sermon Series by Pastor Ron Clouzet: