Do you feel disconnected from God? Many do. How can we draw near to God? I don’t personally know anyone who would not like to get closer to God. I am sure that there are some anti-Christs who scoff at such a blessing. Yet, they should know that drawing near to God is necessary to salvation and thus to the Christian life. How can we endure without being close to Him? What comfort can I have without Him?
We do not have to despair. God is near us, and we draw near to Him, then He will draw near to us. The Spirit of Christ spoke through Paul in Athens saying in Acts 17:24–28,
God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, “For we are also His offspring.”
See 2 things clearly here. First, God has made this world so that people may seek God and find Him. The times and the boundaries of our dwellings have been set and established by God for this very purpose. God wants you to find Him and has blessed all people everywhere to be able to do that. From the Siberian wildernesses to the South American rain-forests to your home, you can find God. Jesus promised, “Seek and you will find” (Matt 7:7). The Spirit of Christ said in Romans 1:20,
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and divinity, so that they are without excuse.
There really is no excuse for not clearly seeing His attributes.
The second thing that we see is that God is not far from each one of us. Though many are separated from God by their sins and their own false gods, God is not so far that we cannot reach Him. No matter your sins, your race, your gender, or ethnicity; God is not far. If I am not close to God, it is my fault despite the hindrances from others. Christ’s Spirit said in James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Here is the command with a promise. The command is draw near to God, and the promise is that He will draw near to you. When we stand before the judgment seat of God, what will we say? “God, I didn’t know where you were.” “I looked, but I just couldn’t find you.” “God, I was in church,” “I prayed,” or “I was good to people.”
Some people come to worship in the Assembly and get nothing out it and do not know what their worship has done. Why do so many get so little out of worship? See, if you do not have a thirst and hunger for righteousness, then you may be a Christian in name only. You must to draw near to God to commune with Him. When we speak of drawing closer to God, we are studying communion, fellowship, and reconciliation with God. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was to do exactly that by reconciling God and man through Christ. Soften your heart and hear with your ears in how to draw near to God.
First, we draw near to God by humble submission or in other words lowering ourselves into obedience. Someone says, “Well, I don’t need to hear about that.” Most people professing to be Christian are not truly Christians because they refuse to be brought low and submit themselves to every word of Christ revealed to His Apostles and prophets by His Spirit. That is why there are so many contradicting churches today. The Spirit of Christ spoke in James 4:7–10 saying,
Therefore submit 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. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Humility is essential to submitting in obedience to God. Jesus is the author of salvation to those who obey Him (Heb 5:8–9). For the Spirit of Christ has revealed the words of Christ through His Apostles and prophets to transform us back into the image of God (2 Cor 3:18).
It is a humble submission that helps us overcome sin. For by this, we resist the Devil and he flees. We draw near to God by cleansing our hands, because we are sinners without Christ. If you are disconnected from God, it is because of your sins (Col 1:21). We draw near to God by purifying our hearts being doubled-minded. The Greek word for “double-minded” is disuchoi, which literally means “two-souls”. Sinners claiming to be Christians have to be doubled-minded. Now, what can be done?
The Spirit of Christ also said through James to “Lament and mourn and weep!” Mourn for your sins. Who wants to mourn over their sins? Who weeps? Many believers look down on this. “Why should I feel sorrow for my sins? I’m forgiven. I will only rejoice!” No, you are not forgiven if you are practicing sin (Gal 5:19–21; 1 John 2:3–4). Most people think that sorrow over your sins is a bad thing. No one wants to feel guilty. It is always someone else’ fault. The Spirit of Jesus Christ says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (Jas 4:10). Christ’s teaching is clearly revealed through Paul in 2 Corinthians 7:10 saying, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” If we would humble ourselves, then we would have joy and a lasting joy. Jesus will lift you up.
What does it mean to be humble? To be humble means to make yourself low. The original words are used for mountains being brought low in Luke 3:5. Christ being in the form of God came in the likeness of man in Philippians 2:8. We must lower ourselves before God to draw near to Him. That is how I draw near to God. “Here I am God to do your will and to be diligent to understand your Word.”
James said, “Cleanse your hands” and “purify your hearts”. These phrases mean the same, and these actions are the result of humble submission to God. This is how we come near to God, and this is how Christians first come near to God in salvation. Speaking to Christians, 1 Peter 1:22-23 says,
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
Sadly, many Bible teachers will tell you that you cannot purify yourselves, and yet Christ’s Spirit does teach that you can. Granted that Christ is at work. Many will say that you cannot do anything to be saved and yet the Apostle Peter teaches obedience to the Word. We are purified by obedience to the Truth when we are born again. This is humble, lowly submission. We are purified by the Truth, which is to be born again through the Word of God. We are born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Pet 1:3). Christ washes us with the water (Eph 5:26). We must be born of the water and the Spirit as Jesus instructed (John 3:5, Titus 3:5). Just as Noah’s family was saved through the water, Peter says that baptism now saves us through the resurrection (1 Pet 3:21). Being buried with Christ in baptism, we are raised with Christ from that burial into the newness of life (Col 2:12–13; Rom 6:3–7).
See, one of the keys to drawing near to God is to humble yourself in submissive obedience to God. The Scriptures have more to say about this, and this study will dig deeper addressing those obstacles that we have put in our way to coming near to God and to Christ.