The last time I wrote the devotional for Wednesday in the Word, I used James 4:8 as my text:
Draw nigh to God and he will draw nigh to you.
This devotional will have some practical applications concerning how to draw nigh to God. It's so easy to say, "Draw nigh to God," but sometimes we might not know exactly how to go about doing that! I'm taking my applications from Psalm 51, that famous psalm where David has realized and admitted his sin and desires with all his heart to be near to God again.
First, David was humble: "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions." (Psalm 51:1) David acknowledged his sin without making excuses for it. God puts great importance on humility throughout the Bible. For his blessing, we have to humble ourselves before Him. In James 4:10, just two verses past our text verse, God says, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." I believe one of the most important things we can do to draw near to God is to humble ourselves.
David made confession, not to men, but directly to God: "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight . . ." (Psalm 51:3,4). Confession is simply agreeing with God. David agreed with God that he had done evil. We must humble ourselves and agree with God about whatever has separated us from Him in order to draw near to Him again.
Then David made supplication to the Lord; he prayed: "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10). He told God exactly what he needed! Prayer is simply talking to God and letting Him know our needs. And when we're away from Him, I believe He's just waiting to hear, "Lord, please renew me, make me clean again!" We have the promise in I John 1:9 that He will forgive when we confess!
David also praised God: ". . . my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness . . . my mouth shall shew forth thy praise." (Psalm 51:14,15). Want to draw near to God? Praise Him! Psalm 148:14 says that God exalts the praise of his saints . . . a people near unto him. Just reading those last few Psalms, full of praise for God, draws my heart closer to the Lord and gives me great joy!
David practiced holiness: "Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness . . . " (Psalm 51:19). God does not demand holiness before He allows us to be saved; otherwise we would never be saved. Nor does he demand holiness in order to keep our salvation. Again, none of us would be able to keep our salvation based upon our own works. But He does love it when we choose to live a holy life to please Him! One way to draw near to Him is to live to please Him. Isn't that true with us as earthly parents? We enjoy seeing our children doing right because they want to!
Finally, David meditated on God's Word: "With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:10,11). To draw near to God, we must be in His Word, getting to know Him personally, and hiding His Word in our hearts through memorization. When we communicate with someone, we feel nearer to them. When I call my parents in SC, I feel closer to them in my heart and we keep our relationship strong through talking to each other. Same with God! To be near Him, we must get to know Him through the Bible.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list! Can you think of other ways to draw near to God? Please share them in the comments. We can help each other to grow even through blog posts!
I have one more devotion on this topic - the results of drawing nigh to God. Next time!