Drawing near to God means moving away from Sin

 Jas 4:8-10  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  (9)  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  (10)  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

 

In seeing this verse, I am reminded of the older couple driving along a country road. As he drove along, his wife sighed and said, “Do you remember how when we would take these drives and sit next to each other, holding hands?” (this was in the day of bench seats, of course) “Yes, I remember” he said. “Why don’t we do that anymore?” she asked. After a short pause, he replied: “I haven’t moved.”

How true is it that we think that God has forsaken us and withdrawn from us when in fact, it is the other way around.  How sad it is for Christians (and James is writing to Christians) to drift away from God when they should be heading closer and closer to Him. All of this is in the realm of being humble which we talked about in the last post. James is not through with that thought.

God sent His Son to die for you, he had the Gospel preached to you, you responded to it and now, now?! you want to slide away to be friends with the world?  No! You should be doing something else instead, you should be getting closer to Him.

James doesn’t pull punches. He just called them adulterers and now he calls them sinners. “Sinners!” Now, we may not be surprised by that because we know that we all sin.  However, those in Christ are not to be characterized as being sinners as Paul points out in Romans 6. Sin should be dead to us and we, are also to be dead, to it. The fact that these Christians were not was the source of their problems and the source of the source was their own desires, ambitions, and selfishness. (see James 1:13, 3:16 and 4:1)

James tells them to cleanse their hands and purify their hearts. A whole blog (not just a post) could be written on this. To Cleanse your hands involves the outside. Stop doing those things which are wrong;  Do not cast your lot with the sinners. Purifying your hearts involves the inside, where man cannot see. However, God can. You cannot be double minded on this. Either you are for sin or you are not. It can’t be that Jesus is Lord on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday but the other days are left for yourself to indulge. You cannot put your hand to the plow and then look back.

Have you ever known someone who rejoiced in their sin? Looked back on the ‘good ole days’ of parties and raucous behavior? I have. They go back to those days in their mind or boast about them at gatherings. They make their sinful behavior appear to be a glamorous thing. Those that did not engage in it, (or those who are too young but will soon be old enough) listen and think “I am missing out”.

Call a spade a spade and call sin, sin. Do not sugar coat the lifestyle of the world or that which you in your former life (I hope it is former) engaged in. Mourn over the things you used to take pride in. Weep at the thought of the wasted years. Be sorry for that sin that you are still struggling with simply because you are not ready to give it up. In other words, REPENT! Humble yourself before God. Be the publican in Luke “Lord, forgive me the sinner”. Be David who in a moment of clarity could only say “I have sinned.”

If you do, God will exalt you. When God exalts a person, He does it right. God gives grace, James has just said, but he gives it to the humble. Be humble!

 

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About Steven Sarff

If I were to offer any one piece of advice to one wishing to serve God, it would be to put Hebrews 11:6 and Acts 17:11 into action and let God guide you to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ.

Posted on January 4, 2012, in Christianity, Faith, Humilty, meek and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This is the post that I needed to see. Sometimes it’s so easy to forget to draw close to God. Especially when you are surrounded by people who aren’t close to Him. But you have to quit making excuses and just do it!!

  2. Truly a life long lesson and process. Thanks.

  1. Pingback: It’s not always easy « Having Faith No Matter What

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