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4 Ways to Draw Near to God - Part 3

4 Ways to Draw Near to God - Part 3
Cleansing Ourselves

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8 (NKJV)

We're looking at a 4 part devotional series titled, 4 Ways to Draw Near to God.  In the first 2 parts we looked at our first 2 ways, which were,

1.    Submit To God (James 4:7a)
2.    Resist The devil (James 4:7b)

Let's take a look at our 3rd way to draw near to God.

3.    Cleanse Yourselves (James 4:8)

When we were first saved, we drew near to God, we submitted ourselves to Him, and we resisted the devil's temptation to continue to live in sin.  We should have then put off, or cleansed ourselves with respect to those sinful practices (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:8-9).  And this is exactly what we must do as Christian believers when we find ourselves distracted from keeping our eyes on Jesus, and from walking in obedience to His will for our lives.  We must draw near to God when we are in sin, and yet this is exactly the opposite of what we are tempted to do.  We want to hide like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:9-10).

Sin is the fastest and most absolute way for us to feel distant from God, but we must understand as true Christian believers -  God will not leave us nor will He forsake us - we are the ones who take the walkabout!

...For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)

It makes me think of the elderly couple that drove down the road in their car with a front bench seat.  As they drove, the wife started to notice that there were many women sitting next to the men who were driving so she asked her husband, "Why is it that we don't sit that close anymore?"  He simply answered her, "It wasn't me that moved."  And so, when we find ourselves far from God in sin, then there is an action required of us when we are seeking forgiveness and that is to repent (turn away) from our sin and back towards God.

It was never God's intentions for us to confess our sin, and then go out and live like the devil -  premeditating our every evil move to fulfill the desires of our sinful flesh, knowing that He will again forgive us over and over.  And Christ's payment of death upon the cross for "all sin" was never meant for us to use as a blank check to live in sin.  We are to abhor evil, (hate it)!   And as such, we are not to have anything to do with it.

You who love the LORD, hate evil! Psalms 97:10 (NKJV)

Therefore we must "cleanse" ourselves of any sin we have been committing and turn from it - Repent!  Our repenting is the groundwork for our forgiveness we must turn from sin. We see Jesus speaking of this.

I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 (NKJV)

When we find ourselves in the middle of spiritual warfare, we need to make it our priority to "draw near to God."  As we do this, the Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin.  We need to guard ourselves from being conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2), and all the evil practices that we seem to be jaded to.  An example would be the bombardment of temptation coming against us through technology.

Hear me in this; our computers, Facebook, the Internet, or our televisions are not the evil -  they are simply the tools the enemy is using in our generation to bring his evil.  We must use judgment and control the channels we are choosing to watch and are allowing within the confines of our homes for our family to watch.  It is no wonder we are having morality issues and millions upon millions of marriages are being destroyed each year.  We must also understand, we are planting seeds within our families and we will reap what we have sown (Gal. 6:7-10).  

Hey Christian, let's guard ourselves from being "double-minded," wanting to spend eternity with God to follow and serve the Lord one moment, and then take our eyes of Christ and seek to fulfill the desires of the flesh.  Let's cleanse our hands of any sinful practices that would make us a double-minded person - unstable in all of our ways (James 1:8).  

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn from the Scriptures contained within this devotional with regard to repenting from our sin?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you turning from sinful practices and ways, or are you subjecting yourself to the bondage of the enemy?

APPLICATION: Seek the Lord for His grace, mercy, and power to transform your life.  Cleanse your life of habitual sinful practices that testifies of unbelief.

Father, thank You for your love, mercy, grace and forgiveness.  Teach me Your ways O Lord: I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to have a reverence for Your name.  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