Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of December 17, 2006

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Recently as I was making my breakfast, my eye fell on this verse which is sitting in a display on our kitchen window sill. I have read it many times, but as I read it that morning, it seemed to come alive with new meaning and promise.

In the context of the passage, when we draw near to God who Paul says is not very far from any one of us (Acts 17:27), we submit to Him. Our hands will be cleansed, our hearts will be purified and we will afflict ourselves in order to humble ourselves. This may refer to fasting. Since sin separates between us and God (Isaiah 59:2), we can’t draw nigh to God without dealing with the sin issue which will keep our hearts from being pure. Our hearts will not be right unless we truly know the Lord as the One who has forgiven our sins and as the one who loves us unconditionally (1 John 4:19). If we have come to know the Lord, our relationship may have grown stale and cold because of our willful ways. We may have to confess that sin so we can be cleansed from it (1 John 1:9) before we will have a desire to draw nigh unto God. This humbling will purify our hearts, correct our thinking and will lead to our doing that which pleases God.

Obviously we cannot draw near to God if we don’t believe that there is a God. Once we believe there is a God we must have faith in Him to draw near to Him. Hebrews 11:6 says it this way, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

The only reason that any of us draw near to God is that the Father draws us (See John 1:14, 6:44, 12:32). We draw near to God when we draw near to the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that though creation, through conscience, through circumstances and through the Word of God, we are all drawn by the Holy Spirit to God at some point in our lives. But many of us, like Pharaoh of old, not only do not know the Lord; but we do not want to know the Lord (See Exodus 5:2). I am convinced that most people do not want to know the Lord because they do not want to be accountable to Him. Each of us would like to be the final authority in our lives. As a result, we often don’t want to draw near to the Living God who created us and who wants us to submit to Him.

So we may need to be drawn to God for the very first time and we will not do that unless we are convicted of our sin that has come between us and God. Trusting in Christ will cleanse us from that sin and will give us the near relationship with God that the Lord wants us to have. But we who profess to know the Savior we may still need to go through a similar process in order to draw near to God. We may need to be restored to the Lord and to His fellowship. We don’t need to be saved again, but sometimes dealing with our distance from God might seem like we have come to trust the Lord again. There will be renewed joy and renewed strength because of the renewed joy. I have never been sure if James was writing to true believers or if he was writing to Jews who thought they were worshipers of God and who needed to be saved. He may have been writing to both classes. But either way, if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. I know that to be true because of the promise that God has given us. And I know that to be true because it has worked in my own life.

Bruce Collins

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