“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8 ESV).
It doesn’t really take much of an imagination to envision a fiery preacher pointing his finger at you, shaking his Bible, and uttering the words of James 4:8. Even the voice in my head when I have read this verse in the past have sounded threatening and judgmental. I don’t see it that way any more.
I do think, however that we often hold God at arm’s length, not wanting His input on things which we hold dear but may not be in our best spiritual interests. My Netflix habit comes to mind. Or my love of sweets. I think you get the idea!
A wise person once said that God is never farther away than arm’s length, because only we can push Him away. That’s what I think of when I look at this verse. It’s as if I am holding Him back with one hand while reaching for the chocolate with the other, desperately clinging to my hope that God maybe doesn’t care about my A1C (a measure of blood glucose over time). Maybe I’m afraid that if I let Him get too close He will take away some of the things that I enjoy.
But God will not force us to surrender the unhealthy things in our lives. That always remains our choice. But by trying to hold on, we are not only keeping God away from what we hold dear (double-minded), but we are also keeping Him away from us.
Drawing near to God doesn’t really require a great effort on our part, merely a surrender!
When we realize that it is our desire to hold on to things that may be holding us back from a more intimate relationship with Jesus, the decision should be simple. You’ve probably heard the saying, “let go and let God.” We really won’t be able to let God any closer to us until we let go of the things that are pulling us from Him.
Take a few minutes today to consider the areas of your life where you might be keeping God at arm’s length. Talk it through with Him. Draw near.
Blessings on your day!