Apr 07 7:58 AM
Apr 07 7:58 AM
Apr 07 7:58 AM
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
There is a comment I have heard all my ministry life from time to time. Because of the nature of the comment, sometimes I hear it here at church. Many more times I hear it when I see people out and around in a park, or at a sporting event, or a shopping mall, or the grocery store, or whatever. I'll see someone I know and say, "Hey, how you doing?" Of course, with me being a pastor, it just kind of gravitates toward a spiritual conversation for many, many people. People will instantly go to that with me. They'll say stuff like, "You know what? I just don't feel that close to the Lord these days. I just don't feel close to him. I feel like he's distant. I don't know. I don't know why, but I just don't feel close to the Lord." And so, I think I do know why. I know exactly why.
I can say that because of James 4:8. When people say, "Man, I feel like God and I are just so far apart," the thought that always goes in my mind is this, "Well, if you don't feel close to God, guess who moved." Here's the hint: it's not God. God is immovable. The person who moved is you. If you don't feel close to God, it's because you are not drawing near to God. I get that from James 4:8. Look at what it says. "Come near to God, and he will come near to you." That's a promise. If you come near to God, He will come near to you. What does that mean? If you're not near God, you haven't come near him. Therefore, a lot of times the reason why people don't feel close to God is because they're not drawing near to God. They're not getting involved in church, or in Bible reading, or in activities of godliness. They just expect God to follow them around in different paths. I say that because the rest of the verse says, "Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded." James doesn't have a problem being blunt and direct, and I kind of like that. I think sometimes we need to be blunt and direct. It seems kind of random that after saying draw near to God and He will draw near you, he says you should cleanse yourself from sin and stop being double minded. What's he saying? Sin is the biggest thing that keeps us from drawing near to God. We all want to be near God. God is never going to move. The problem is that sin causes us to drift from God instead of draw near to God.
When it comes to the Christian life, God, is immovable, but you're always doing one of two things. You're very rarely hold ground for very long. You're either drawing near to God or drifting far from God. If you're drifting far from God, the text says it's because of sin. Either the sin of comission, meaning you're doing something wrong, something you shouldn't be. Or you're committing the sin of omission, meaning you're not doing something you should be, like reading the Bible, going to church, serving, giving, or practicing the Christian disciplines. That's what's causing you to drift. If you want to draw near to God, you have to get rid of the sin that's keeping that from occurring. So what is it in your life that's keeping you from being even closer to God? What's keeping you from drawing even closer to God? Or what's kept you so far from him that you can't get closer to him? Here's what I want you to do. Do a little inventory on your own life. Are you struggling with some sin of omission or commission? Get rid of it. It's not worth it. It's a struggle for all of us. We all sin. I sin, you sin, we all sin. If we want to get closer to God, we've got to fight it. Through him, we can win over it. So, next time you say, "I don't feel so close to God," don't blame God. You and I are the ones that have moved.
Let's pray. Father, forgive us for not being close to you, because when we're not close to you it's always our fault because we've moved. Sometimes we've drifted because sin has interfered with us getting close to you. You're too holy to engage us when we're in love with our sin. Help us to love you more, feel closer to you, and ask for forgiveness when we sin. Help us to have short accounts with sin and long accounts with forgiveness and grace. Help us to walk closer with you every day, and we ask this in Jesus' name, the one who facilitates this all through putting our faith in him. Amen.