“…Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.….” – James 4:5-8.

God puts dreams in our hearts and writes a destiny for our lives. If we trust Him enough, if we have faith, we will find ourselves on a journey toward the fulfillment of that dream. But sometimes that journey is strewn with thickets and thorns. Some of it may not be our doing, but some of it, as was the case with Samson, is our own doing. God allows the path to be difficult because He is intent on refining us to be the person He intends us to be. Unfortunately, in difficult times it is easy to take a few steps away from God.

Samson took more than a few steps. In much of his life’s journey he was doing what he wanted regardless of the fact it was leading him away from God. But what about us? What happens when we are in the desert dying from a lack of thirst? Or when a lion rises up against us? Or when enemies constantly plan our downfall? We often find ourselves at a decision point. Do we trust and lean into God? Or do we take a few steps away?   

The tough times are when we need to step toward Jesus. It was James, the brother of Jesus, who wrote to the believers in Jerusalem, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8). If we draw closer to God, he will reciprocate and draw closer to us. Drawing near to God is spending time with Him, worshiping Him, praying and talking to Him, inviting Him into every aspect of our lives. Many times God uses situations and difficulties to get our attention and stimulate our thirst for Him. What appears to be a painful or desperate situation is often His invitation to draw near.

We can fail, as Samson, and still draw closer to God if we seek forgiveness. With an attitude of humble repentance, we can enter into a more intimate relationship with God. However, if we find ways to rationalize and continue doing the same sin, we will inevitably take some steps away from God. Sin always blocks our ability to know the Lord.

If you have allowed weakness or failure to pull you away from God rather than toward Him, it is not too late. Our enemy wants to put as many steps between you and the Lord that he possibly can. Don’t let the enemy win the battle. Instead, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).

Discussion Questions:

  1. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” What does that promise mean to you? What does it mean in our daily lives?
  2. What causes us to take steps away from God? What causes us to take steps toward God?
  3. How do we draw near to God?
  4. What can we do this week to take a few steps toward God?