Reading from James this morning, I came across this familiar passage that is both comforting and challenging. Take a look at it.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 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. (James 4:7-10)
What first hit me was verse 8, where we are called to draw near to God with the assurance that He will draw near to us. No social-distancing here! Nearness to God can be the longing of our hearts – and it can be a longing fulfilled!
What hit me next was the attitude we should have when approaching God. It should ever be with a sense of entitlement or arrogance. We can only come into God’s presence because of His grace and mercy through His Son and our Savior Jesus! We are, instead, to come humbly and with a repentant heart.
To harbor unconfessed sin or to treat the hidden sin in our lives lightly is to minimize the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin. If you are a believer, your sin is forgiven in Jesus, but that does not mean it is no big deal. The Apostle Paul acknowledged that where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more. In other words, God’s grace is always greater than our sin – no matter how massive that stinking manure pile may be! But Paul goes on to say –
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1-2)
God calls us to come near. God promises to come near to us. What a great privilege and comfort! But let us take the time to examine our lives. Do we have unconfessed sins? Do we harbor animosity toward someone? Are we infused with a critical spirit? Do we need to take the “log” out of our own eye so God can use us to minister to someone with a “speck” in theirs?
My hope for all of God’s people this day is that we will acknowledge our sin and the great cost of that sin, confess it, forsake it, and enjoy pure fellowship and intimacy with the Lord of all!