closer to God'

Wednesday Reflection

14th October 2020

'we want to come
 into an ever-closer relationship'

'Draw closer to God
 and he will draw closer to you.'

James 4:8

All true Christians are concerned about
deepening their faith
and drawing closer to God.

Knowing how wonderful God is,
we want to come into an ever-closer
relationship with him
wherever we are in our Christian journey.
But how do we get God more fully into our lives?

In James' letter he says,
   'Draw closer to God
    and he will draw closer to you.' (4:8)
and this is a good place to start;
but how do we do it?

How can we possibly please God
if we do not know what he wants of us?
The answer to this,
and any other question about God,
is to be found in his instruction manual;
The Bible.

These are God's words,
given to us so that we may learn about him.
Like most instruction manuals
(at least from my experience),
the Bible is not an easy read.

Much of it,
especially the epistles
in the New Testament,
takes an effort to understand.
But the Bible was intended to be read because,
through it,
God wants to educate us.
As we read and understand it,
we draw closer to God and he to us.

But, and it's a big BUT,
only if we are open to its message
and allow our minds to be modified
by what we read.

That may sound simple,
but it can be nigh on impossible,
for we tend to be set in our ways and thinking,
and the older we get the more convinced
we become that we know
what is true and what is false,
what is right and what is wrong -
and if the Bible disagrees with us
we find ways of re-interpreting it!

What does the Bible say about us
when we prefer the version in our minds
to the one in the Book?

15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive
   the kingdom of God like a little child
   will never enter it."

Mark 10:15

This means child-like, not childish.
We need to approach the Bible
like a small child
free of preconceptions.
Where our ideas conflict with what we read,
then it is our ideas that must change
instead of changing the message in the Bible;
our minds must be renewed.

This is not easy as our human nature
and interaction with the world
teaches us to defend our own ideas.
To read and take on board something
we do not like is uncomfortable.
The temptation to find what we want to find
in the Bible,
rather than what is actually said by God,
is difficult.

I think one of the reasons
why we find it so difficult
is that much of what the Bible says
goes against our worldly knowledge
about how to succeed in life.

It is human nature to want to be successful,
rich, have long lives, be liked, needed.
We want God to approve of our friends and allies.
We want to be wise,
or at least have others think we are wise.
But all of these thoughts and desires
inevitably come into conflict
with God's Word.
How can we come to terms with it all?

We can grow in joy
and the knowledge of the Lord
through His Word if we are prepared
to open ourselves to the Word;
by study and prayer
God will grow closer to us
as we grow closer to him.