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Draw Near to God – Part 3

Cleanse Yourself

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 four part devotional series titled, Draw Near to God. In Part 2 we looked at the importance of resisting the devil. So let’s take a look at the third way we are told 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. The next thing we should have done is to cleanse ourselves with respect to those sinful practices (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:8-9). And this is exactly what we must do throughout our lives as Christian believers when we find ourselves in sin and not walking in obedience to His will for our lives. 

Sin is the fastest and most absolute way for us to feel distant from God, but we must understand, 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)

Feeling distant to God makes me think of the story of the elderly couple who were sitting in the front bench seat of their car while driving down the road. As they drove, the wife noticed there were many women sitting very close to the men who were driving their vehicles, 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 it is when we find ourselves in sin and feeling far from God—we are the ones who have moved away from Him. We simply need to repent of our sin, and draw near to Him again.

Christ’s payment of death upon the cross was for all sin (Rom. 6:10), but this act of grace was never meant to be a blank check for us to live in sin. We are to abhor (hate) evil (sin) (Ps. 97:10), and as such, we are not to have anything to do with it. Therefore we must “cleanse” ourselves of any sin we have been committing, and choose to change our mind (repent) about partaking in these sinful ways. This is the groundwork for our forgiveness. It is absolutely imperative for us to turn from our sin and live in harmony with God’s will.   

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

When we look to the world to meet our needs and feel accepted we will find ourselves conforming to the ways of this world. In truth, we will find ourselves to be double-minded and unstable in our Christian walk (James 1:8). We will find ourselves feeling distant from God. We need to guard ourselves from being conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2), and from doing anything we know to be against the Lord’s will. When we find ourselves in the middle of spiritual warfare, we need to make it our priority to draw near to God.

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?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Choose to seek the Lord for His grace, mercy, and power to transform your life. Choose to cleanse your life of every habitual sinful practice that testifies of unbelief.

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for your love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. Teach me Your ways O Lord. I choose to 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