Daily Devotional – Monday, September 13, 2021
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” (James 4:8, NLT)
I recently posed the question, “How close are you to God?” Why is this important? Because the farther we are away from God, the more entrenched we are in the things that stand in opposition to Him. God tells us through James that if we want to be close to Him, we can be; in fact, as we make the move to live in His presence, He has promised to shorten the distance by coming closer to us. God will not force Himself on anyone; in order to enjoy a close relationship with God, we must first freely choose to do so. And God will not reject us…He’s like the eager parent watching their child’s first steps as they toddle into His open arms.
If there is any distance between us and God, it has nothing to do with God, but rather us. He wants us to live as His loved children, but He is not clingy or demanding…He wants our closeness of our own freewill; the only catch is that there is a cost that must be paid in order to enjoy a close relationship God—we must give up the things that stand in opposition to God. James calls this ‘divided loyalties’—we might also call it opposing desires. If our desire to be close to God does not include a willingness to get rid of things in our lives that stand in direct opposition to God—His values and commands—then our wish is in vain. It’s like the person who wants to get healthy, but refuses to exercise and refuses to give up eating fast food every day. Just as we cannot have our cake and eat it too, we cannot be close to God while refusing to let go of the things that pull us away from Him.
Having a close relationship with God is possible, but wanting it to be so is only the first step. We can only truly get close to God when we give over the habits, desires and behaviour that work against our aligning ourselves with Him. The choice is ours. God is waiting…watching…ready to embrace any who choose to come to Him!
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!