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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Decide to be near to God

Relevant Ministry Blog Schedule:
Tuesday - "About Spiritual Health in Life and Ministry"

Thursday - "About Relevant Women"

by Cyndi Coleman
On a beautiful, sunny afternoon, I was reading on our back patio when I came upon a chapter about prayer and being near to God. Immediately, a particular Bible verse began to drift through my mind, “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).  While I paused to reminisce on this verse, I lifted up a half-hearted, weak prayer that went something like this, “Lord maybe you should come near to me, so I know where to find you.” I was not expecting an answer, but I got one. It was a shocking thought that consumed the rest of my afternoon. I felt God whisper to my soul, “You must come near to me because I am always near to you.” Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Since this caught me off-guard, I spent the next several hours contemplating and praying through this contradictory thought. 

For the sake of clarity, please humor me with this example: Imagine two people sitting at opposite ends of a long bench. One scoots over until she is sitting so near to the other that their shoulders are now touching. The one who scooted is happy to be near to the other, but the togetherness of the two depends entirely on the response of the one who remained still, doesn’t it? They can respond in a multitude of ways: 
  • Turn toward the other person and engage in a conversation 
  • Feel uncomfortable and make some space
  • Ignore the other person
  • Get up and leave
  • Or, perhaps the one is so busy and distracted that they never even notice.
So if we were to build off of this analogy, God is the one who scooted down. In fact, he scooted down to earth over 2,000 years ago, so we could choose to, or not to, be near to him at any time. He chose to come to you and never leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6). If you are a born-again believer, he actually lives within you; however, even that does not constitute closeness. How, or if, we respond determines how the exchange or relationship will go.

Back to my story and what happened...that afternoon in the simplicity of the moment, God was saying that he is already where I am; I need only to respond and receive him, at any given moment - anywhere, anytime. I must choose to turn my gaze, my attention to him and draw near.

Even when we deny his existence, blaspheme his holy name, choose to sin, choose to run and try to hide, he is there. The Psalmist, David, contemplated this very topic when he said,

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there, your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
(Psalm 139:7-12).

In short, there is no place you can wander where he will not also go with you. His will is to be in constant communion with his beloved children. You are his beloved. Won’t you draw near?

If you have never accepted God’s free gift of salvation, this is an initial invitation for you to draw near to him. The invitation to YOU was opened before you were born. It is his will for your life.

“Father, I know that I have sinned against you and I desire to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sin and come into my life right now, I pray.  Amen.”

Christian friend, maybe you prayed this prayer a long time ago and now, your relationship has gone stale. I saw an interesting quote online the other day which read, “If you feel far away from God, guess who has moved.” That says it all, doesn’t it? If you are feeling far away, he is right there with you. He wants to commune with you. It’s your choice. His will is to be in constant communion with his beloved children. You are his beloved. Won’t you draw near?

When is the last time you sensed genuine closeness to God?

What would you like to do about your current relationship with God?

What steps would you like to take today to renew your relationship with God?

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