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Are You Missing Out On the Nearness of God?

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:8

On State Street in Bristol, you can straddle the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. So it really is possible to be two places at one time. But when it comes to being a Christian, you can’t live on both sides of the fence. There will be no fence-straddlers in heaven.

Double-minded means insincere, wavering, uncertain, not fully persuaded, and uncommitted. It’s on again — off again faith that vacillates between belief and unbelief.

In Navy boot camp, every recruit was required to pass a series of swim tests. The first assessment called for jumping from a tower, swimming to the other side, and then floating on your back for five minutes. No big deal IF you could swim. I couldn’t. And so I jumped and sunk to the bottom. When a pole hit me in the head, I grabbed onto it, and an instructor pulled me out of the water. After that I was labeled an NQS (non-qualified swimmer) and given swimming lessons. A week later, I passed the test.

Faith is like that. You jump into the deep end and trust the Lord will get you to the other side. In the process you will make mistakes, occasionally make a fool of yourself, but in the end you will succeed.

Christianity is not a hobby. It’s not something you occasionally do on Sundays to make you feel good about yourself. Jesus is not a designer label or a name to drop for impressing others. Real Christianity is all-in faith that trusts God no matter what. It’s swimming in the deep end of the pool even when you can’t swim.

Real faith relies on Christ and not on self. It doesn’t have to understand every jot and tittle of His word. It just trusts resulting in decisions and behavior that honor God.

Double-minded faith is self-centered. It places self on the throne and not Christ. It bows to your needs, whims, and desires. It’s like saying to the Lord, “Don’t call me — I’ll call you.”

When James observed the questionable faith in the early church, he called for repentance. “Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” They were in no position to draw near to God, or to expect God to be near them. They had not sincerely embraced the faith.

The nearness of God is promised to all who draw near to Him.

His statement began with a wonderful promise. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” They were missing out on the greatest benefit of believing — which is the nearness of God. The presence of the Godhead — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is promised to all who are in Christ.

Yesterday, I watched a replay of a Bill Gaither program taped in Jerusalem. Songs I had heard many times took on new meaning when sung from the scene of Jesus’ earthly ministry. One of my favorites, Holy Ground, was particularly inspiring. But then it hit me. Holy ground is wherever God is.

Meeting with God anytime we want is a privilege and honor that should not be taken for granted. Even for those of us who are in the faith, we still need cleansing before approaching His throne of grace.

For years, I have included our focus verse in my prayers. “Draw near to me as I draw near to You.” But before making that request, I always seek His forgiveness. And then I thank Him for His faithfulness to forgive. I realize I don’t deserve admittance into God’s holy presence. I surely haven’t earned it. This high honor has been gained by the precious blood of Jesus and God’s unfathomable love, mercy, and grace.

If you haven’t immersed yourself in the pool of faith, won’t you trust Him now? Trust Him completely. Like that great hymn says, I surrender all.” 

Don’t miss out on the nearness of God.

For more on this topic, check out this article: Where to Find Rest for Your Soul

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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