Sunday Sip: James 4:8 – Why we don’t come near to God
Why we don’t come near
At 4 years old, my daughter would want to snuggle up next to me, but then would start poking and kicking me trying to hurt me. I would ask her if she really wanted to snuggle. She would say yes, but didn’t have an explanation as to why she was poking me. I believe she was subconsciously testing to see how I would react. Would I still hold her close and snuggle? Would she still receive love even when she was “bad”?
At 5 years old, she would yell “I HATE you” – when she was really just mad about something. Would I return hatred for hatred, anger for anger, or love for both? Would I draw near in love or push her away?
In her tween years she would stomp up the stairs in what looked like an angry fit towards/because of me. But as I gave her some space for a little while, then lovingly pressed in gently – I would find out she was really mad at herself for something she had done, or what had happened to her that day at school. Again . . . deep inside she was wondering and crying out . . . “Will you still love me no matter what?”
How about you?
- Do you feel like God is far away today?
- Has it felt like you are all alone?
- Has God pulled away . . . or have you?
- What’s going on inside . . . in your life . . . and do you believe you will be met with love in return . . . no matter what?
Come Near and God will come Near
The scripture above is comforting . . . that not only can we come near to God (it is our choice) . . . but when we do, God will come near to us.
We will be met by Love in return.
But I want to challenge you to look at the verse in context.
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Many times we blame God for the bad things in our life, crying out “Where are you God? Why are you not helping? Why are you not speaking to me? Why are you not here? Why did you cause this?”
As a mom, I can be in the same room with my kids, watching them, trying to talk to them, praying they not only listen and obey (to keep themselves safe, etc) – but also wanting them to come near . . . to snuggle, to listen to what I want to tell them, to let me hold them when they are hurt and let me comfort them when they are sad. But they don’t always do that – do they?
Kids will often push away – out of anger, out of their woundedness, out of fear, out of self-hatred and low self-esteem (thus believing others won’t and don’t like them or will accept them as well) and other reasons. They will choose to disobey, and might get hurt in the process.
We are no different. Are we? 🙂
We get mad at God, we push Him away, we deny his loving arms from surrounding us with comfort and love, and then we stay mad that He’s not doing anything to help us, to fix things, to make us feel better.
But have we followed what this Scripture says?
- Submit yourself to God
- Resist the Devil
- Come near to God
- Wash your hands (what you’ve done)
- Purify your hearts (what you think/believe)
- Humble yourself
And then what will happen? . . . . He will not only come near – but will lift you up! [YAY!]
God is always with us
“. . .And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20b)
Yes . . . He is always with you . . . but are you with Him?
I know that many times in my life, I’ve complained and accused God of not speaking to me anymore, of not being there for me . . . when in fact, I was the one that pulled away . . . either out of anger, out of shame, out of self-pity, out of believing lies about God and his character and natures, and many other reasons.
When I chose to press into and started to believe the truth . . . that God is always there, ready and willing to “come near”, to envelope me with his big loving arms, to comfort me in times of distress, to lift “me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; [to] set my feet on a rock and [give] me a firm place to stand.” (Psalm 40:2) . . . THEN . . . when I came near (to this very safe, loving and perfect Father, Friend and Counselor) . . . He ALWAYS came near to me!
And I have never been the same!
A loving challenge
I want to lovingly challenge you today to examine your life.
- Are you following what the Scriptures say?
- Have you repented of any sin (wrong doing and wrong thinking)?
- Have you resisted the lies and schemes of the enemy?
- What areas in your life are you believing lies – about yourself, about God, about others?
“Any area of your life that does not glisten with hope reveals that you are believing a lie & is a stronghold of the devil.” – Francis Frangipane
This is not meant to stir up condemnation . . . but to lovingly help you and reassure you . . . that no matter what kind of mess your life might be (inside and out) . . . God is ALWAYS here for you! He has never left you nor will he forsake you (Duet 31:6,8).
And when you do decide to fully come near to Him . . . He will not only come near to you . . . but He wants to wrap His big loving arms around you . . . and love you like no one ever has! 🙂
Will you come near?
What is one thing that is hindering you from truly drawing/coming near to God today?
Fear? Doubt? Anger? Sin? Confusion? Stubbornness? Hurts and wounds? Other things?
Will you continue to let these things stand in the way and hinder you from coming near to God? Or are you ready to make some changes and choose to come near to Him? 🙂
I am praying that you will encounter the love of God like you never have before! There is absolutely NOTHING that can separate you from God’s love through Jesus (Romans 8:39)! That’s the truth! 🙂
What are your thoughts about coming near to God? Have you felt Him near to you before?
Dare to share your thoughts in the comments – either of your struggles, or your victories!