“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8)

To come near means to travel towards, to come closer, to approach something or somebody.
And so, to come close to God is to know him, to have a right relationship with him. It is spending time with Him, worshipping Him, praying and talking to Him. Inviting Him into every aspect of your lives.
Moses was one of those who thirst, hungered and longed for God. He realised that nothing else in the world could compare to the experience of being with God. In Exodus Chapter 33 verses 14-16, Moses told God that he didn’t want to go anywhere without God’s prescence. In verse 16, he said, “What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth”. So Moses, more than anything else, wanted the mark on him and his people to be in God’s prescence. Instead of fitting in, Moses wanted to stand out. I pray that you and your household will stand out and be recognised this week, in the name of Jesus.
Another person who desired God and would not let him go is David. He wrote this in Psalm 27 verse 4, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple”.
David was successful in all that he embarked upon, as a Shepherd, warrior, poet, king, but his greatest desire was to live in the prescence of the Lord all the days of his life.
Luke 2 verse 37, has this to say about the widow and Prophetess, Anna who filled her days and nights in God’s prescence. “She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying”. She was unusually close to God.
Paul in 1st Corinthians Chapter 2 verse 2, wrote about his single focus. “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”. So, while in Corinth, Paul focused on one thing and that is knowing Christ. Paul’s courage and fearlessness was so strong that he said he resolved to know nothing else.
Beloved, the question for us this week and always is this: how can we come near to God?
The 4th Chapter of the letter of James tells us to do the following:
First, submit to God. It means yielding to God’s authority and will, committing your life to him and his control, and be willing to follow him.
Second, you and I must withstand, combat and hold out against the devil.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your sisters and brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
As people of God, we must not allow satan, during time of suffering to offer us a quick fix, an attractive option or to win us over to his evil cause. Satan has absolutely nothing good, fruitful and lasting to offer us. So, don’t allow him to entice and tempt you. Instead keep your eyes on Christ and resist the devil.
The third, is to wash your hand and purify your hearts. We live in a difficult world, nevertheless we must try as much as possible to live a pure life. Let us be cleansed from sin and replace our desire to sin with a desire to experience God’s purity.
Fourth, do not be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done, wail in sincere sorrow for your sins and your failures to do the will of God.
And the fifth is to humble yourself before the Lord. It means recognising that yours and mine worth comes from God alone. There is nothing we have that we did not receive from God. Humbling ourselves before God, involves working with the power of God according to his guidance, not with our own independent effort.
Remember that it is God alone who can lift you up and despite our human shortcomings, when we do not deserve God’s favour, he still reaches out to us in love and gives us worth and dignity.
Sadly, living in the prescence of God every day is not the greatest desire of many who claimed to be believers today. We have a habit of running to God, calling on God, when we experience difficulties and when troubles come.
Beloved, I challenge you, come near to God, seek God’s guiding prescence every day. Don’t wait until when troubles come, but seek God’s help and direction beforehand. Coming near to God, knowing God is the greatest acquisition you can have in life.
I pray that you will be hungry for God. That as he did to Moses, God will make you stand out by His prescence. He will grant you the sole purpose of David to seek his face. He will grant you the affection and closeness of Anna to fellowship with you moment by moment. May God give you the determination of Paul to know nothing but Christ.
Let me end with the text of this song:
“ Lord you are more precious than silver; Lord you are more costly than gold; Lord you are more beautiful than diamonds; And, nothing I desire compares with You”

May your week be filled with the prescence of the Lord.

With blessings,
Venerable Prebendary Tunde Roberts