PRACTICAL WAYS TO DRAW NEARER TO GOD
Do you sometimes feel like God is anything but near? Like, "Hellooooo, anybody out there?"
That kind of far away.
Most, if not all of us, have experienced desert and distant times with God. If we look back through scripture we see it’s our heritage. Remember, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years wondering.
Truth be told, which is highly recommended, the issue wasn’t God disappearing from the scene. He took care of the needs of his people. But to the Israelites, what seemed like God removing himself from their presence was in fact, the people first turning away from God.
Nothing I want to admit to but again, if I'm to be honest, any gap I've known in our relationship isn't because the one who loves me most left me. It's because I moved away from him.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.
When you and I don’t experience the nearness of God, could it be we’re the ones who have gone astray?
Here are three things to help you draw near when God seems far away.
1. A Humble Heart
The attitude we have as we seek God matters.
You probably pray once or more every day. If so, the question becomes what's your attitude when you come to him?
The Old and New Testament repeat the majesty, glory, and awesomeness of God. In Jeremiah we read: If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron. 7:14) First, we are to come with a a humble heart.
I know for myself, I’ve whispered prayers with little thought of whose court I was entering. I’ve been reminded with silence that my Father is King of the universe and the king of me. You and I belong to God by way of the cross. So does everything we like to think we own—from our bodies to our box of Cheerios.
Humility admits sin and demands repentance. All to him I owe … as the song goes.
We aren’t wrong to expect God to answer our payers, but we are mistaken if we forget our nearness to God requires a humble heart.
2. A Desire to Worship
As a Christian woman you are meant to worship.
Just so we’re clear, let’s check the definition of worship: to regard with great extravagant respect, honor, reverent devotion, and allegiance. Worship is our hearts’ response to God’s grace and goodness. Regardless of our circumstances, we are born to worship.
In the Psalms, we find worship includes singing, praising, dancing, shouting joyfully, bowing or kneeling before the Lord, clapping and raising hands, thinking and speaking of his great love and faithfulness. All of these things are worship.
What if we begin with worship each time we desire to spend time with God instead of plowing into our lists of fears, favors, and blessings? Maybe offer a simple song of love and adoration? Sometimes I make up my own melody and words as I work through my day (God definitely smiles and winks at this-which makes me smile, too). Or, I sing a hymn I know or a chorus of more contemporary songs that come to mind. Raising my hands or getting down on my knees reminds me of my right position before the Lord as I offer thanks and praise for who God is, what he is doing, what he has done, and what he plans to do in my life.
Worship isn’t confined to our time of prayer though. Worshiping the Lord is an intentional choice to show extravagant respect for God with our thoughts, words, motivations, and actions as we do the work he’s given us. Living life in a way that brings glory to God is worship.
3. Time Spent In Scripture
Reading scripture is all about coming near to and learning more about God, his will, and his ways so we can grow as he desires. I confess, I’ve read through bible passages and found little in them that moves me unless and until I ask God what he wants to teach me and then .... here's the best part ... receive his answer.
If all I get is silence, it’s worth me asking if there's something I need to confess blocking the way forward.
Mostly, it’s not uncommon for certain verses or words to jump out at me that fit my circumstances perfectly and provide answers to my prayers. Then, I write the scripture down and seek to understand how to apply the information to my life. What a loving God to give us his Spirit that we can be taught specifically what we need to connect his will to our lives!
Sacrificing our time to meditate on scripture draws us near to God, honors him, and renews, refreshes, and guides us to the fulfillment of his purpose for our lives.
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Ps. 95:1, 2, 6
The Nearness of God is Our Good
Several years ago, when I first decided I wanted to draw near and know God more—for real, I came to the following scripture knowing as I read it this was to be my life verse.
But as for me,
the nearness of God is my good.
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I might tell of all thy works.
Our bodies are the temple of God, filled with his Holy Spirit. For you and me, all believers, his nearness is our good...we crave it. And by his grace, we can experience it as we humble our hearts, worship, and spend time with him in his transforming words of love. He is not far away.
Which one of these 3 practices is God calling you to apply to draw nearer still?