Just how close do you want to be to God?
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
James 4:8 ESV
A question to consider.
According to God, we can be as near to Him as we desire. The question is: Just how close do you want to be to God?
What is it you find engaging about God?
What makes you desire to be near Him?
What keeps you from drawing near?
Why do you keep Him at arms length? or farther?
If you are engaged — in a gear which moves you toward Him — are you willing to arrange your life accordingly? He will not change to suit your ways or schedule or imagination of what it means to draw near. Engaging with Him most often means a life rearranged.
And what exactly does it mean to be near God? You may have to reconsider what it means for you to draw near the God who rules and reigns. The God who is God and will not share His glory with another.
Just how near do you want to be?
It means life will change.
You will be transformed.
Are you ready to turn your life upside-down to be near Him?
A true story.
For the longest time, I thought I was “near” God. Believed I was a Believer. But then He captured my heart.
It happened in an ICU waiting room. I was there for my mom whose death they thought imminent. Whatever faith I had was nominal. superficial. neonatal. I asked my older brother, much farther along in faith than myself at the time, if anyone had prayed with her.
No. Do you want me to?
When he returned, he sat down next to me, and shared with me her words after they prayed: I trust. I trust.
You have to understand. I NEVER talked about God with my mom. I didn’t know if she believed or what kind of faith she had. NEVER saw either of my parents read a Bible and could count on one hand the number of times I attended church with them, outside of weddings and funerals.
But with her words, relayed via my brother, she gave her testimony: I trust. I trust.
This was twenty-six years ago and whenever I recount this story I feel afresh the sensation that swept through my heart when her words were shared with me. Captured! Carried away. No longer my own.
With this revelation, this God I thought I knew, revealed His love for my mom, comforting her as she drew near death. And that was more than enough to engage me.
From that moment, nothing in my life has been the same. It may have looked the same on the outside, but inside… things… were…. different…
How I longed to draw near Him. To know this God who blessed my mom with peace. My goal was to know Him and serve Him. Find out who He is and what it is He wants from me.
I’ve been on this journey for more than two decades now. I can tell you a little about drawing near Him.
A life rearranged.
Not having grown up in a church, I only knew two things about Believers that were different than everyone else. 1) They prayed. 2) They read the Bible.
So there I went. fully engaged. I began rearranging my life to fit Him in. As a stay-at-home mom of three preschoolers (one an infant), my first priority was no longer my stair-stepper. It was reading the Bible and praying. The shower became my prayer closet and my Bible the first thing opened and read each day.
Little by little I began to grow in my understanding of just Who had captured my heart and what it meant to be His.
With this new arrangement, I was blindsided by unexpected battles.
My own heart became a battlefield where fear and anxiety were winning the war.
A battle of wills and rights began to take place in my marriage.
Two areas of unrest, heart and home, sent me running to Him even harder (most often in desperation or complaint).
You see, when He captured me, I fell for Him because of what He did for my mom. Gratitude drove me to Him, and I believed life would get better when I began seeking Him. But I never really thought I might need Him too. Never considered He had designs on me. wanted to renovate me in ways I never really asked for. or desired.
I look back now and wonder why I kept pursuing. Things got much more difficult AFTER I began drawing near.
Just what does it mean to “draw near”?
With battles raging. year after year. prayers were cried out. bargains made.
One prayer led to impromptu baptism. I was 33.
One led to a totally unexpected turn in my marriage. God called me to change — not my husband.
Just what does it mean to “draw near” God? the God who rules and reigns and expects you to come under His authority if you say you believe? Well. it. means. change.
For me it meant coming to know:
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Whatever the anxiety, the fear of not enough, it was apparently not true. I didn’t need what He didn’t give. And if what I feared came to pass, well it was His plan for my good.
And if I wanted my marriage to change, I had to change (see 1Peter 3:1–6). The battle of wills was an authority issue and guess who was wrong? Not him. me.
Drawing near to God means letting Him rule over your life, do things His way not yours. I can’t tell you how many other places in my life He has rearranged and is STILL turning upside-down. shifting all the sand out from under my feet. so all I have to stand on is Him.
It may sound most unappealing, especially if you think drawing near Him means you get to have everything your way — no problems and all blessing. But the truth is, when we draw near Him, He turns the problems into blessings. Reveals areas where we need a renovation of the heart. I can tell you, I’ve never felt more free or more at peace than I am now. And it’s all the result of engaging and rearranging to draw near Him.
There is no better place to be than as near as you can get to Him.
Just remember. The only thing holding you back is you.
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
Again I ask: Are you ready?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how close are you to God? 10 being sitting at His feet, 1 He’s not even in your viewfinder.
What does it mean for you to draw near Him?
My story reveals a moment where He captured my heart, swept me away, have you experienced a time like that? how did you respond?
Drawing near to God is what we are created to do. It’s our sole purpose in life (Acts 17:26–27). Ask God to capture your heart. Ask Him for the faith to believe. It is only in Him we find freedom and peace.
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