James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” Interestingly, this verse has a way of popping up in my life every once in a while. When I think back to my first encounter with this promise, I am still amazed….
Though I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at a young age, it wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I really started to grow in my faith. My first semester of college I was taking a required course called Introduction to Biblical Studies, and much of my homework for that class was simply reading assigned portions of Scripture. I had never really read through the Bible before, and as I did so for that class, I was amazed by what a wealth of knowledge and wisdom God’s Word contains. At the end of that semester I began my own plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. The more of God’s Word that I read, the greater my desire to know Him grew. So many times I prayed, asking God to reveal more of Himself to me and confessing that I wanted to know Him more. In effect, I was asking Him to draw near to me. Yet for some reason I felt like I wasn’t getting that. I wasn’t getting more of God like I desired. Then one day while praying, God spoke to me so plainly: “If you want more of Me, you have to give Me more of you.” Wow! The answer to my prayers had finally come! Such a huge revelation, yet such a simple concept. It wasn’t until many months later that I first came across James 4:8 in my reading. And when I did, I was again amazed by God’s words to me; for He had spoken to me from His very Word.
So how do we draw near to God that He might draw near to us? By living in obedience to His commands. “…And His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).