“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
James’ instruction for us to ‘come near to God’ is not for us to wander casually into His presence.
This is the Lord God Almighty who has been rejected through the sin of humankind and has shown His great love and commitment to us by bearing the guilt, consequences and penalty of our sin in His body on the cross. He has died for our sin and risen for our life.
For us to come near to God it is necessary for us to acknowledge as best we can at the time both His glory and majesty and our fallen-ness and sinfulness. So we approach Him in repentance and with deep grief over our sins and with a sincere intention to walk away from them. James reminds us that this is a serious business as he continues,
“Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”
However there is also for us a great joy and amazement at God’s love and sacrificial forgiveness of our sins of yesterday, today and tomorrow in Jesus Christ. This is the basis for our ongoing repentance for, and confession of, our sin of each and every day. We acknowledge that we are still prone to selfish sin and come humbly and gratefully back to the Lord to receive His forgiveness, cleansing and blessing – provided for us at such great cost to Himself.
As we do this, and keep on doing it, we are drawing nearer to God – and we find in the patience and gentleness of His response the blessing of His intimate love, cleansing and support. For some the battle with sin will be a long and lonely road but the God who works in all things for the good of those who love Him will walk with us every step of the way. Through it we may find in wonder that this journey of pain with Him has not taken us further apart but has drawn us much closer. Such is the wonder of the love and grace of God revealed in and through Jesus our Saviour and Lord.
Take your weaknesses to God and ask for His help.
Father forgive me for my sins, and for the areas in which I struggle. Please cleanse me, strengthen me and protect me – and help me to always come to You to find the acceptance and support I need in Your great heart of love. Amen.