Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (
“Why do some persons 'find' God in a way that others do not? Why does God manifest His Presence to some and let multitudes of others struggle along in the half-light of imperfect Christian experience? Of course the will of God is the same for all. He has no favorites within His household. All He has ever done for any of His children He will do for all of His children. The difference lies not with God but with us.” That’s what A.W. Tozer said in his classic book, “The Pursuit of God.” We have as much of God as we desire. James tells us that in chapter four of his letter. This is the great pursuit, and four things are required to “find” God fully.
The first requirement is COMMITMENT (v.8a). God wants us and woos us, but we must respond to His love. There must be a commitment that we want Him. I heard a story of an old couple driving the beat up pickup truck down a dusty country road. Old Eb is behind the wheel, and his wife is scooted over to the passenger side window, wistfully looking out at the cornfields. She says, “Eb, remember how we used to sit so close? How we would ride down the road right against each other?” To that Eb simply replied, “I ain’t moved.” God hasn’t moved. We are the ones who need to scoot back over!
The second requirement is CLEANSING (v.8b). Has there been a time you were in your dirty work clothes and had to make a run to the store? You hoped no one you knew would see you—or smell you. Sin is a barrier to intimacy with a Holy God. Adam and Eve enjoyed walking with God in the garden, until sin came, and then they ran and hid. Thankfully, God made provision for their forgiveness. We can be cleansed. That’s why Jesus came. We must confess that we are soiled and the barrier will be broken.
The third requirement is CONTRITION (v.9-10). Sin is not only an activity—where we do the wrong deeds—but, it is an attitude—when we have the wrong disposition. If I do not take sin seriously, then I show I do not take God seriously. If I do not humbly repent of my pride, then access to God’s gracious presence will be denied. My heart needs to be broken by what breaks the heart of God. It has been the eyes are the windows of the soul. If that is true, then the windows need washing with tears of contrition. Then we can see God clearly, and the light of His love will flow in unobstructed.
The fourth requirement is CONTROL (v.11-12). James has much to say about the tongue and the need to control what we say. He returns to that theme here. When I speak wickedly about someone else in a judgmental way, I am inviting God to judge me accordingly. When we visit the doctor, one of the first things he does is ask you to open your mouth and stick out your tongue. He can assess much about the state of your health by looking in your mouth. That is true concerning our spiritual health as well.
Let us not accept a cheap substitute for God by pursuing the things of this world—that is idolatry. May we give ourselves fully to the great pursuit of the true and living God!