James 4:8 “Draw close to God and God will draw close to you. Wash you hands you sinners, purify your hearts you hypocrite.”
Did you come away from the holidays feeling exhausted? Were your days busier than you expected or desired?
I noticed that through the holidays my time with the Lord was reduced by the busyness of preparations and celebrations. Reduced, both, in depth and in the amount of time. It seems that although my intentions were good, my to-do list overwhelmed me and the tyranny of the urgent took over.
The beautiful thing about a relationship with the Lord is that He doesn’t leave. He waits for us and desires us to draw near. He is never too busy for us.
Do you feel the need to rekindle the flame in your relationship with the Lord? I know I do.
Satan loves nothing better that to pull us away from the Lord and Savior whether it be by busyness or tiredness.
James tells us that we are to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. I am choosing to be intentional about drawing near to Him. How do you intentionally draw near to the Lord?
I have five specific ways that I am drawing near, seeking the Lord in relationship. Some are daily parts of my quiet time, others once or twice a week.
- I am doing an 18 months Read through the Bible plan. I record the portions of Scripture that speak to my heart in my prayer journal.
- I am seeking to know the Lord more through Lectio Divina with Summer Joy Gross in her Slow Word Movement at A Thirst for God. It is a short time of scripture reading, meditation, and prayer. (A more thorough description is found at www.biblegateway.com/blog/2013/09/lectio-divina-divine-reading/)
- I am also digging deeper into the Scriptures through Jan Johnson’s book Meeting God in Scripture. Another practice of Lectio Divina. (*see note at end of post.)
- I am making a point of choosing to have a heart of thankfulness writing a daily gratitude list of 3-5 blessings each day.
- Prayer is another facet of my intentionality in seeking the Lord. Prayer is interspersed through all of these practices as well as in writing out my personal prayers in my prayer journal, and praying through my prayer list. I use the idea of the Prayer of Examen (this link has information about Lectio Divina also) to go through my day and think about my attitudes, actions, responses and reactions.
The most important part of all of this is it is a means, not magic. I only want to know the Lord more through His Word and prayer. I am not legalistic about any of it. When I begin to look at my time with the Lord as an obligation, I miss the relationship. More than anything I want to know His presence.
The remainder of James 4:8 speaks of our sinfulness. It seems all too often that this is the part that is overlooked. We need cleansing. We are called to confess and repent. To confess is to tell the Lord of our wrongdoing. To repent is to turn away from our sinful choices. It is helpful to think back through your day before the Lord asking the Holy Spirit to help you remember your thoughts, attitudes, actions, responses, and reactions. Our snide responses, angry reactions, and selfish attitudes are often dismissed in our minds but are detestable before God.
I want to live mindful of what the Lord desires of me. It is so restorative to speak with the Lord about it all and know His grace is there for me. It is like a nice hot bath before bed, washing off the dirt of the day, both cleansing and refreshing. We can find grace and mercy at the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16).
It is only when I am intentional in seeking the Lord with my whole heart that He tells me I will find Him. He wants to meet with us.
How will you rekindle your relationship with the Lord? There is nothing more important than drawing near to the Him.
* Note: It is very important to know that as we seek to learn more from the Lord in His word through any kind of listening to Him that we:
1- protect our minds and hearts with a prayer, that the Lord alone may lead and guide us in our understanding.
2- take anything that we think we hear and search the scriptures to make sure that it does not go against anything in God’s Word.
Satan desires to deceive us and mislead us in any way that he can. We must be mindful of this and be sure that we are seeking the Lord. Don’t put yourself in danger of being misled by the Deceiver.