Draw Near to God | Lessons from James

Welcome to Real Life. God is always present. But, his presence is not always felt.

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.[1]

This verse used to bother me. I thought, “Why doesn’t God draw near to me first. Then I would naturally want to draw near to him?” I didn’t understand. He already has. God is near. I just don’t sense his nearness. But, when I seek him - read and meditate on his Word, invite him into my thoughts, speak to him throughout my day, sing to him, sit quietly with him – I find him near.

My difficulty is remaining in that sense of his nearness. I often seek Jesus in the morning and then leave him behind in the busyness of my day.

At other times I seek God, but don’t find him. I don’t feel him near. I feel alone. David once said, “God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you?”[2] During those times, I keep talking to him like he’s right with me. Because, he is (whether I feel him there or not). Jesus said, “I am with you always.”[3]

What’s the big deal about sensing God’s nearness? It's like golf. Occasionally, I line up my ball and club and stance properly. When I hit the ball, it sounds good, flies beautifully, and lands precisely where I planned. Everything feels right. I hit the sweet spot.

Experiencing God’s presence is my sweet spot in life. Everything feels right. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and my coffee tastes wonderfully rich. I’m completely loved and in love. I'm forgiven. My soul’s at peace. Guilt and condemnation flee. I’m free. Problems become inconsequential in the presence of my all-powerful God. Obstacles crumble. The future fills with hope, for nothing is impossible with him. Nothing else matters but him. I'm tasting heaven and want more. I'm living the Real Life I was meant to live.

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. 
When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy 
went and sold all he had and bought that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven 
is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 
When he found one of great value, he went away and 
sold everything he had and bought it.[4]

Take it further …

  • Is it hard for you to sense God’s nearness? The first place I experienced it was at church. Look for him in worship. God inhabits the praises of his people.[5] 
  • Pray the song “Draw Me Close to You” (by Michael W. Smith). 
  • Read The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. 
  • The devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is a daily reminder of God’s presence.

[1] James 4:8 KJV
[2] Psalm 10:1 The Message
[3] Matthew 28:20 NIV
[4] Matthew 13:44-46 NIV
[5] Psalm 22:3
Image of woman from: https://encrypted-tbn3.google.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSmjGWMuy0mNEoS2U-4GJtilYLuDelGnN_wHKGSfUd3B65tECqdlg


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