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4 Ways to Draw Near to God - Part 1

4 Ways to Draw Near to God - Part 1
Submitting To God

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8 (NKJV)

There are so many times I've heard people say, "God seems so far away from me."  Feelings are a powerful motive for our every action, and if left unchecked by the truth of God's Word, they will lead us straight into the arms of the enemy.  

With this said, I decided to expose this great lie from Satan suggesting God has somehow left or abandoned His relationship with us.  God has told us, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." (Heb. 13:5)  And James tells us to "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." (James 4:8)  So, with this said, I would like to outline and look at 5 ways for us to draw near to God.  So let's look at our first way.

1.    Submit To God (James 4:7a)

Therefore submit to God... James 4:7 (NKJV)

All too often we receive encouragement to be a "Committed Christian," but commitment is still speaking of our being in control.  Commitment speaks of our having power over, or being in charge of something, and is dependent upon our own abilities and desires within us to choose to keep to the commitment we have made before God. Our commitment to be Christ-like will always lead to failure unless we are fully "submitted" to God.

Q:    What does it mean to submit?

The word submit used here in this verse is from the Greek word, hupotasso, hoop-ot-as´-so; It means to obey - it was a military term meaning literally, "to rank under."  This is the only way we can make Jesus our Lord -  we must choose to submit to Him.  We must understand, without submission to Jesus as Lord, no one comes to the Father.  We see Jesus saying this as recorded in the Book of John.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6 (NKJV)

Submitting to God also entails our submitting to His Word - it is accepting all Scripture contained within the Bible as divine including the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:1; 12:1-2; Matt 10:39; Luke 14:27). When we truly submit to Jesus we will submit to His Lordship over our life, which means submitting to His will.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

We were once under the lordship of Satan and we are now under the Lordship of Christ - We were once under the bondage of slavery to sin - we are now free from that bondage.  We were once enemies of God -  we are now His friends and His Children.  When we truly trust Jesus as our Savior, we will simultaneously submit to Him as our Lord.

We must understand that Satan has chosen to go to war against God for every person's soul.  So Satan is pulling out all the stops to get us to be distracted from keeping our eyes on Christ.  He is trying to win us over to his side through the temptations of the flesh.  Satan's number one weapon against us is the lie - for he is the father of lies (John 8:44).  He entices us through the temptation of the lie that we can somehow find fulfillment in this world - tempting us to believe we can find a lasting contentment, joy, and happiness by saying "No" to God - and instead following the desires we have within our flesh.

Satan's temptations are strong because our flesh loves those things he tempts us with -  each person having a different combination of things that they desire. The devil cannot read your heart, mind, nor is he omniscient - he must try different tactics to see which ones will work on each of us.  If we continue to stumble when he tempts us in a certain area, then he will continue in that area. Satan wants us to say, "Yes" to our flesh - but God is saying "No, don't do that, it is sin, and it will lead to death."

Even though God and Satan are at war, we can be clear on this one thing -  we don't need to wait till the end to figure out who wins. We see this victory being spoken of in Revelation (Rev. 12:10-11).

Hey Christian, I want to encourage you today, if you're not feeling the joy of the Lord, then choose to draw nearer to Him by submitting wholeheartedly to Him, His Word, and His will for your life.

STUDY QUESTION: What are we exhorted to do in James 4:7?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you fully submitted to God by allowing Jesus to be the Lord of your life?  Are you submitted to the entirety of God's Word within the Bible, or are you picking and choosing which verses you want to acknowledge as truth?

APPLICATION: Submit to God in every area of your life today.  If there is something you know to be against the will of God, confess it, repent of it, and submit to God's Word to clean up your life.

Father, thank You for sending Your Son to be a Savior for all who would receive His payment for their sin.  Father, I confess today that Jesus is my Lord and I choose to submit to His authority in my life.  Help me to see things in the way You do, and empower me to make wise choices.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000