In James 4, James, the original leader of the first Jerusalem Christian Church, has been describing the consequences of living our lives according to worldly wisdom. When we can't get what we want, fighting and quarreling break out among Christian believers.
In the previous verse, James told us to repent of our ways and submit to God and resist the devil.
In today's episode, James teaches us to draw near to God and He will draw near to us.
Listen now to explore the history and culture of this verse. Once you understand it, this Bible verse will mean so much more to you.
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Hey, welcome to The Simple Truth. I’m Julie Carruth.
We’ve been exploring James’ instructions on how to respond when our inner fleshly desires rage within us. You know, that desire that says, “I want what I want, and I want it now.”
In the past 2 episodes we studied a very famous passage from James Chapter 4. “Submit yourselves to God and resist the devil and he will flee.” James follows that command with James 4:8a (another famous passage), “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”
The original listeners of James’ letter had separated themselves away from God due to their own worldliness, and James is telling them (and us) to return to an intimate relationship with God.
The Greek verbiage here indicates a decisive and complete return. You can’t hold onto the world AND God at the same time.
It’s interesting to note here that the idea of drawing near to God was associated originally with Levitical priests. These priests were separated unto God and were allowed to approach God. James’ letter was originally written to Messianic Jews, that is Jews who became followers of Jesus. Growing up in a Jewish home, they would’ve been knowledgeable of this idea of the Levitical priests and would have understood James’ point here. That they are now a royal priesthood, separated unto God and allowed to fully approach God through the blood of Christ. And so are you as a believer of Jesus.
And James tells us that when we come near to God, He promises to come near to us. God is waiting with open arms, ready for you to return.
So, how do we draw near to God? There are several different ways. You draw near to Him when you study the Bible, which is like His love letter to you. You could turn on praise and worship music and worship Him. Talk with God throughout the day. He loves to hear your voice. This doesn’t have to be a big extravagant prayer, either. It can be as simple as, “God I love you.” Or, “God, I need your help.” Or, “God, thank you.”
So, your simple truth for today: When you feel temptation rearing its ugly head inside of you, come near to God, and He promises to come near to you.
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I'm Julie Carruth, and I can't wait to see you again tomorrow.