July 9, 2017
- By Ed Powell
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"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." James 4:8
I have a friend who spent several years in the Navy during World War II. He was brought up in a religion that does not proclaim or encourage a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord. He was steeped in tradition, creeds, and customs that didn't minister to his heart. Recently, he received Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. What a dramatic change took place. Not ashamed of his newfound faith, he tells everyone, "The Lord is good." But there's more! He found the joy and blessing of a daily companionship with Him who saved him, living in the conscious reality of Christ, and walking with Him in the path of life. Let me ask you: Is this a blessing you enjoy?
When I first met my wife, I was recovering from World War II injuries in an Army hospital, and she was 300 miles away. After being attracted to her, I found myself going home every chance I could, to be with her. This worked wonders! Over a period of time we became engaged. But why did I want to spend this time with her? I wanted to know her in a more personal relationship by being with her. God wants us to have a personal relationship with Him, so that He can reveal to us the exceeding riches of His grace and embrace us with His love. But this can only take place when we spend time with Him. He said, "Draw nigh to me and I will draw nigh to you." You say, "How can I draw nigh to God?"
First, God says, "Ye shall seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart." Not only must there be a "singleness of heart," but there must be a "sincerity of faith." David said, "The Lord is nigh to them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit." Those who come to Him in acceptance, and worship Him in spirit and in truth, are the ones He will draw nigh to Himself in blessed fellowship.
Secondly, we draw nigh to Him in confident assurance and faith. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he rewards those who diligently seek him." We come nigh to Him with unwavering faith. "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." It is imperative that we seek to draw nigh to God having been thoroughly cleansed. You might say, "What then holds back my fellowship with Him and His drawing nigh to me?" Often, it is a "procrastinated surrender" of our self-directed hearts!
Michelangelo, the great Italian artist who painted the masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, placed a candle in his hat while painting. He did this so his work would never be hindered by allowing the "shadow of self" to distort the true color he desired in his painting. We need the candle of a "singleness of heart and unwavering faith" and need to work no more in the distorting shadow of ourselves! What blessed release, freedom, and liberty of spirit comes when "we" get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit have full and free access to our lives.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2017-07-09
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