James 4:8a, “Draw near*~ to God and he will draw near to you. …”
Do we really want God to be with us all the time, knowing all our thoughts throughout every day? Salvation is not a prayer but a statement to Christ that, yes, we trust Him and want Him to be an intimate part of our lives forever.
There is no possibility of faking this commitment. Matthew warned of seeking God for selfish motives when he wrote, “These people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me, and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt 15:8–9). They were seeking to be accepted by others for their religious acts. Do you really want to get closer to God?
David counseled his son Solomon with similar words to this command: “Know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him” (1 Chron 28:9). Ask him if He approves of all your thoughts and ambitions.
There is nothing that God delights in as much as intimate fellowship with His creatures. John wrote, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth [referring to the cross], I will draw all people to Myself” (12:32). There is no question that God wants us to walk closely with Him, agreeing with everything He says and trusting that His way is best.
In Hebrews we read, “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need…Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb 4:16; 10:22).
The heart cry of the redeemed is for deeper communion with God. The psalmist describes this passion for God: “My heart says of you, ‘Seek His face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek” (Ps 27:8). Then he wrote, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live” (63:1–4).
The more we are assured of His complete forgiveness of all our sins, and the more we understand the horrible price our Savior paid to be able to forgive us, the more we will want to trust Him and know Him intimately, eliminating everything offensive to Him.
“Jesus, when I worship You in our gatherings, it is so easy to sing the songs and feel Your presence in the phrases we sing to You, but I wonder if I truly love the lost as You do. I don’t want to be near You just to feel good; I want to be near You to be like You.”