Because I am a Christian, I choose to dedicate my Sunday posts to the worship of my God. I love to explore the Bible and listen to what God is trying to tell me about how to live this earthly life. I hope you can glean some Truth from my words and apply it to your own life. Blessings!
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners;
and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
I am currently involved in a twelve-week Bible study that is designed to help me "rethink God Biblically". The study is entitled Behold Your God, and I would encourage you to check it out for yourself. I don't usually recommend specific studies, but this one has literally rocked my understanding of my relationship with the God of the Bible, and we are only in week two!
Which brings me back to this week's Scripture. Draw near .... I always supposed that I knew how to do that, or that at the very least, I was actively in pursuit of an intimate relationship with God. But my study this week has revealed that I know less about how that relationship is to be conducted than I thought. And it's because, while I may acknowledge that God is the focus and center of my life, my actions may reveal that I do not really draw near to Him, and therefore I must ask this question .... Do I really KNOW my God? Knowing God is not some superficial capacity to quote Scripture or rattle off all the character attributes of God. Truly knowing Him means that I must seek out the sin areas of my life that keep Him at a distance.
These could be Pride, Deceit or Fear -- all of which I keep hidden from His light, and which keep me from humbling myself and submitting my lowly, sinful nature for His inspection and saving grace. It is the hardest thing to do, to ask, "Lord, show me myself." Yet, we must face ourselves with honesty if we are truly to draw near to Him. We must ask ourselves, Who rules over our lives? And that means every aspect of our lives ... who rules over my time, my money, how I spend my down time, what TV shows or music I listen to, who my friends are? If we find satisfaction in any area of our lives that caters to our desires, instead of God's, then we do not know Him, and it will be impossible to draw near to Him.
Perhaps the most illuminating thing I learned this week in my study, was that there are fruit sins that result from root sins. The fruit sins are the outward expressions of our rebellion against God, such as anger, envy, greed or lying, to same just a few. The root sins are what is hidden in our sinful nature and produces the fruit ... such as pride, unbelief and selfishness. They must be cleaned out and our hearts purified, as the Scripture says, if we are to know God and draw near to Him. Most of the time, I am asking for forgiveness for those fruits of my sins (angry words, for instance), without ever digging deeper to eradicate the roots of my transgressions.
Pride will tell us that we, not God, are the most significant being in all the universe. Our desires, not God's, become the focus of our everyday life. Unbelief is the result of doubting that what God has told us about Himself in the Bible is actually true. It convinces us that our sin is not really as bad as God says it is, and when coupled with Pride, persuades us that the lies we tell ourselves are more trustworthy than the principles spoken by our God, who cannot lie. How foolish of us to ignore that sin always lies. Then there is Selfishness, which whispers that we won't be truly happy if we don't get our way; if we forsake our sins and follow God's ways. What we want comes before any other, especially our God.
So what do we do? We reconstruct the God we say we know into someone that better suits our sin nature. Now that's a God we can say we "know", right? If He is modeled after my desires, my ideas of what sin is, and who He needs to be to make me happy with myself, then I've created a false idol and a God of my own creation. He is not the God of the Bible!
So what do I need to do to make sure I am on the right path to drawing near to my God; to truly knowing Him? Because as the above Scripture states, until I draw near to Him, He will not draw near to me. And that is my utmost desire! This is what I've learned: First, I must earnestly seek out the truth about God. And by that, I mean the truth that the Bible tells me about God; not my own "convenient" image of Him. Secondly, what I discover about God will help me to be honest with myself and uncover the root sins I have been hiding from His light. That, in turn, will redefine what I think about all sin and how I am to cleanse and purify myself. I must discover these truths in this order, and ultimately, I will realize how big God is and how small am I.
When I endeavor to understand who God really is, and how that knowledge can alter who I am, and affect how I deal with my sins, then I will be able to see my salvation in a new light. It is not about me! It is about honoring God and glorifying Him for rescuing me. That results in a true recognition of who God is and a heartfelt desire to draw near to that pure love. What a blessing it becomes when He draws near to us! That's the kind of Christian I want to be!