“Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your heart you double-minded.“ ~James 4:8
We stay close to Him the same way we stay close to anyone, by spending time together. We must draw near to Him and if we do He will, in turn, draw closer to us.
If we really want to stay close to God, we are going to have to admit we need Him. So what exactly does it mean to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts? I mean, after all, we’re only human, right? We’re not perfect!
We simply need to admit this very fact, that on our own we are not perfect, we have all failed. In doing so we are establishing our own guilt and the need for a do-over . . . the need for Jesus.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" ~Romans 3:23
With that admitted, we all need a do-over because we've all fallen short of God’s perfection. But we can’t fix ourselves— only God can erase our past—only through His forgiving grace can we get clean. Then it’s up to us to keep our hands clean.
However, on our own, we are unable to do this. We will fail every time. We are no match for the wiles of Satan, but it's no problem for God!
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ~1 John 1:7
We must continually surrender our will and learn to lean on God in everything—every, single, thing we do. As well as turning to Him when we do wrong; we need to confess, and re-surrender again, and again, and again. We must stay in non-stop communication with our only source of power.
This has been the hardest part of Christianity for me, because I’m so used to just going my own way, doing everything on my own. The one thing that’s made this easier is the reality that on my own I know I will fail, but when I’m hooked up with God I will inevitably succeed.
This knowledge has made me want to do everything in my power to stay close to God. Honestly, the more you test this out, the more you will want to reach out to Him in every single thing you do.
But I can do it by myself…!
The pattern of my self-willed efforts looks something like this. I start out on my own, completely oblivious of my self-absorbed will—not until I begin to trip and fall do I even think of including Him—not until I’m actually in the throws of failure do I call to Him.
Here are a few actual examples of this very thing. I peel a carrot. I then start to slice said carrot, and not until I’m actually bleeding does it even occur to me to ask Jesus to join me while I prepare dinner!
Next example…I’m running late for an appointment. Rather than thinking of calling on God to give me a hand, I take the situation into my own hands by stepping on the gas. Once again, not until I see the blue lights in my rearview mirror do I ask for His help. And this scenario goes on and on. I could fill an entire page with examples of how well I can do it by myself.
This is why we must stay in non-stop communication with our only source of help and protection—of power and peace.
“Pray without ceasing.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:17
This is exactly what Paul means in this verse. But how can we pray without ceasing? How on earth can we go through the day saying formal prayers and get anything else done?
We stay connected! We stay connected by being in a mental state of conversation with Him. We talk to Him, talk about Him, sing about Him, read about Him. Without this continual connection, I will surely fall prey to the enemy. And honestly, I’m sick of being beaten up by Satan. I’m finally to the point of total surrender. Bottom line, I can’t do it by myself, I most definitely need His supernatural empowerment!
God wants us to talk to Him in the good times and the bad, to give Him thanks for all the good stuff as well as call on Him when we’re in trouble. Nothing makes Him happier (brings Him glory) more than having His children run to Him with everything!
“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the most high God. Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you will glorify me.” ~Psalm 50:14-15
Q: Are you ready to totally surrender?
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