In James 4:8, is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. He tells us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. This passage has been a guiding principle in my life for years. Yet, at times, it seems more difficult than at other times. I’ve shared this passage and idea with many and to my surprise, some seem to have trouble with doing it. I say this because it is true but also because I want you to know that the process of drawing near to God is not something that is meant to be difficult.
God has always had every intention for us to be close to Him. In fact, when God created man (Gen. 1:18), He looked on us and said that it was not good for us to be alone. The implications of this are important. God created us for fellowship! He created us to have close relationships with Him and with others. That in part is why He created us like himself (Gen. 1:26-27). This is also why God was able to walk and talk with His creation in the Garden of Eden.
Man and God had a perfect relationship while in the Garden but things quickly changed. I am not sure how long man got to enjoy the joys of that close relationship with God, but we do know that it was destroyed. The entrance of sin destroys the relationships of man. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they suddenly knew they were naked. With this new knowledge, they were ashamed and fashioned clothes to cover themselves, thus hiding from each other. Then to make things even worse, sin caused them to hide from God (Gen. 3:7-8). At once, sin ripped apart what God had joined together. The perfect relationships between man and woman were damaged and the perfect relationship with God was broken. Sin had separated us from God.
It is no wonder that we fight and struggle for real relationships in this life. We were created to have and value relationships, but sin corrupted our ability to be close to each other and to God.
The entire message of the Bible is about what God was doing to restore the relationship that was lost in the Garden of Eden. From beginning to end, the Bible is a love story detailing how God is reaching out to His creation. It is a story of God, trying to restore the damage that we created between us and God (Isa. 59:1-2; Gen. 3).
God, as our Great Shepherd, is actively trying to seek and save His lost sheep (Luke 15:3-7). As our great and loving Father, He is calling the prodigals to return home and to once again enjoy the blessings of our Father (Luke 15:11-32).
Consider these wonderful passages that remind us of God’s desire for us to come home.
Malachi 3:6–7 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers, you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’”
Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore say to them, thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.”
James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
Our God is a loving and just God, who longs for a close relationship at His side. When we reach out for Him in accordance to His word, He will always be there, waiting to forgive us, and restore us to Him (Ps. 145:18; Acts 17:26-27).