The most important relationship that you and I have as believers is our relationship with God. I find myself saying this a lot recently, because I believe every other relationship flows from this one. James gives some great advice in how to improve our relationship with God.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (Jam 4:7-8 ESV). Notice this incredible phrase, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
I remember once having the opportunity to gain work experience at a motocross event whilst studying in university. The event showcased many of the top motocross riders from across the world. Over 20,000 people attended and racing was shown live on Sky Sports. Just a day before the event, the main events organiser called me aside and thanked me for helping out. He preceded to hand me a silver bracelet! His word’s “Stuart, this is an all access pass for you, you can gain entry to anywhere at any time. Enjoy!” A silver pass! I can assure you I made full use it, I had access to the course track, the pits, the riders, the media room, I was allowed to go wherever I pleased at any time, all because of this silver pass.
The truth for us as believers is that we also have been given a “silver pass”. We were once far from God with limited access to Him, but now in Jesus, because of all that He accomplished, drawing near to God is non-restricted and unlimited! In Christ we have an all access pass to the Father. 1 Peter 3:18 says – For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God.
So this drawing near to God that James speaks of is loaded with absolute intent, full with privilege, pleasure and joy for us. Christians get to live life immersed in the presence of God every day, everywhere we go. My question is this – why don’t we?
The reality is: we are as close to God right now as we really want to be, and so drawing close starts with you saying from your heart – God I want to be closer to You.
Here are three things to help you draw near to God
- Decide that you are fed up
Deciding in your heart to draw nearer to God comes from you being fed up with where you are presently at. You’ll remember that story of the prodigal son; he took his entire father’s inheritance money and wasted it on frivolous living. Before long he was broke, very hungry and feeding pigs. He soon got fed up, and began thinking of home, how his father’s hired servants lived a better life than him, they at least had food. In his desperation he was brought to the point where something had to change, he returned home and was received lovingly by his father. God wants us close, He died to make it possible and so the first step to drawing near to the Father is to get fed up with where you are at and hunger for something more.
- Decide to own up
We have all been in situations where we have had to own up, whether we have spoken out of turn or have broken something and had to confess it. This is exactly what James is getting at: Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (Jam 4:8 ESV). To have our hands cleansed and our hearts purified we need to own up to our sin. Now you may not have “huge big sins” to confess – but we can all say, “God I am not where I should be, where I could be.” Whatever the Holy Spirit points out to you; unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, greed, jealously, putting other things before Him, maybe even good things, whatever stops you getting closer to God needs to go. The ironic thing is, the closer we move to God – the more we see our sin, and we can’t do anything else but own up. Repentance is an ongoing essential step anyone must take who wants to draw closer to God. This involves humility, but owning up and coming to God in humility opens up the flood gate for the lavish presence and love of the Father to be poured over us.
- Decide to offer up
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. (Rom 12:1 NIV). For me, it sounds like this – “God help me to give you everything, show hidden parts that I haven’t given you, help me to hand them over to you, give me strength to surrender, to offer you my all.” On his return the prodigal had a change of attitude. He left saying, give me my stuff, and returned saying make me your servant. Instead of taking for himself, he offered himself. When your heart moves from self-centeredness to being God-centred – that is true transformation. And it all happens when we say, “I don’t want to live the rest of my life the way I’m living now – God change me.”
God has a better plan for your life than you can imagine, and it comes from being up close and personal with Him. God is calling us to draw close, closer than we’ve been before, to see things we’ve never seen before.