“How can I connect with God?” Do you feel disconnected from God? Many do. Most people would like to get closer to God. Drawing near to God is necessary to salvation and thus to the Christian life.
God is near. Anyone can draw near to Him, then He will draw near to them (Jas 4:8). The apostle Paul revealed that God is not far from anyone no matter where they live or in what time. Everyone can grasp for Him and find Him (Acts 17:24–28). 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, everyone can find God. Jesus promised, “Seek and you will find” (Matt 7:7). Everyone can see God’s invisible attributes of His eternal power and divinity so that they are without excuse (Rom 1:20).
When people desire to draw closer to God, they are wanting communion, fellowship, and reconciliation with God. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was to do exactly that by reconciling God and man through Christ.
Here are five actions to draw closer to God:
1) Draw near to God by humility.
Most people professing to be Christian are not truly following Christ because they refuse to lower themselves and humble themselves to every word of Christ. 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 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; Eph 3:3–5).
Humility helps believers overcome sin. Believers resist the Devil and he flees. Christians draw near to God by cleansing our hands, because all are sinners without Christ. If you are disconnected from God, this is because of one’s sins (Col 1:21). Believers draw near to God by purifying their hearts no longer remain doubled-minded. The Greek word for “double-minded” is disuchoi, which literally means “two-souls.” Sinners are double-minded who claim the Christian faith and yet practice evil.
James expressed, “Lament and mourn and weep!” Mourn for your sins. Who wants to mourn over their sins? Who weeps? Many look down on such humiliation. “Why should I feel sorrow for my sins? I’m forgiven. I will only rejoice!” No believer is forgiven if that person continues to sin (Gal 5:19–21; 1 John 2:3–4). Many people think that sorrow over sins is a bad thing. Few want to feel guilt. The Spirit of Jesus Christ instructs, “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 believers would humble themselves, then they would have a lasting joy. Jesus will lift the lowly 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 (Phil 2:8). Believers must lower themselves before God to draw near to Him. James taught, “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 believers come near to God, and this is how Christians first come near to God in salvation. Christians purify their souls by obeying the truth (1 Pet 1:22–23).
2) Draw near to Christ by being crucified with Christ.
Many professing Christ feel disconnected from God and Christ. There is no connection for them. What are they to do? What have happened? Did God move? No. People move away from God unto other false gods and they worship their flesh, their eyes, and their pride.
What must believers do to move closer to Jesus? Believers draw near to Christ by taking up our cross daily. Jesus taught, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Luke 9:23–24; cf. Matt. 16:24–27). In other words, Paul depicted, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in the faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
When taking up one’s cross daily, that believer commits to death of personal wants and desires. The Christian has lost the limited life and gained eternal life. Because the Christian is dead and crucified, the believer is not ashamed of Jesus.
Christians are born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Pet 1:3). Christ washed believers with the water (Eph 5:26). Believers 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). When buried with Christ in baptism, believers are raised with Christ from that burial into the newness of life (Col 2:12–13; Rom 6:3–7). This is where the believer is crucified with Christ, and furthermore, continues to put to death evil (Col 3:1–3; Gal 5:24).
3) Draw near to God by hungering for righteousness.
When believers thirst for the life and the righteousness in Christ, all they want is get closer to Him. Jesus revealed in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” Jesus expressed, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38–39). For Jesus said, “My words are spirit and life” (John 6:63). Therefore, Jesus revealed, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled” (Matt 5:6).
Humility brings believers to the Scriptures. Look at what Jesus proclaimed in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” People come to God in loving obedience, and then God and Christ comes to them and makes Their home with them.
Remember Christ’s great invitation:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matt 11:28–30)
However, many professing the Christian faith do not truly come to Christ. They resist Him in resisting His words. They neglect to “observe all things” that He has commanded (Matt 28:20).
4) Draw near to God by overcoming evil.
What hinders many from drawing closer to God? This goes back the fall of man. Sin separates humanity from God. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). “The wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). “Death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom 5:12). This death is a separation from God and something that will carry over into “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess 1:7–9). The Spirit spoke through Isaiah 59:1–3,
Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.
Sin alienates people from God (Eph 4:19; Col 1:21). Inventing one’s own righteousness does not reconcile anyone to God, but Christ who is sinless overcame death. Jesus revealed in John 3:20, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” To connect with God, humanity can only become reconciled in Christ. Romans 5:10 affirms, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
However, some try to retain “a form of godliness” (2 Tim 3:5), so these draw near to God in a vain way. These wonder why they are not close to God and they wander why they do not feel connected to God. They say one thing and stand away from God with another life. Jesus quoted Isaiah in Matthew 15:8–9, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” There is no such way to draw near to God while neglecting worship, avoiding gatherings of prayer and study, forsaking the assembly, and neglecting communing with Christ in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 10:16–17, 21).
5) Draw near to God for salvation with a true heart.
Lastly and in light of the numerous references to drawing near to God, drawing near to God is the essential point in which we are saved and enter to His Church. This has been seen over and over again throughout the numerous verses. From humble submissive obedience to taking up the cross to loving God to being filled by Christ and to not worshiping our flesh, eyes, and pride; drawing near to God involves the simplicity of standing upon the Gospel by which all can be saved. As with many things in the Gospel, there are some things at the very heart of the faith that are essential and at the heart of faith by which believers live.
Draw near to God for salvation. The Spirit of Christ revealed in Hebrew 7:25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” For God saves believers to the uttermost through Christ. Therefore, we draw near to God with a true heart. The Spirit declared in Hebrews, “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (10:22). The true heart comes to God in faith being sprinkled by the blood of Christ when bodies being washed by pure water, which is baptism (Heb 10:19; Eph 4:4; 5:26). This is how people first draw near to God for salvation. Those lost were saved. Paul revealed, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13).
Jesus declared in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”