”The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.”- Psalm 145:18.
There are approximately 85 Bible verses that instruct us to seek the Lord: Acts 17:27; 1 Chronicles 16:11; 1 Chronicles 22:19; Psalm 14:2; Hebrews 11:6; Jeremiah 50:4; Matthew 6:33; Romans 2:7-8, to name a few. And there are Bible verses about seeking God’s presence: Exodus 33:14; Matthew 18:20; 1 John 4:16; Genesis 28:15; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 23:4 and Revelation 21:3
Paul prayed that we might grasp the depth, width, length, and height of Christ’s love for us. God has a deep, penetrating, and transformational love for everyone. That love has never changed, but often along the way we change. We don’t feel as near to God- His presence seems missing. God is as willing to get as close to us as we are willing to get close to Him. Drawing close to God requires effort on our part. If you feel separated from God, it is you that have moved and not God. All those verses on seeking God indicate some action on our part.
Martin Luther King Jr once said, “The belief that God will do everything for man is as untenable as the belief that man can do everything for himself. It too, is based on a lack of faith. We must learn that to expect God to do everything while we do nothing is not faith but superstition.”
It can seem as if the Bible is telling us to sit back and let God do His thing. Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” And Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” But authentic trust in God doesn’t mean that we should take no action ourselves. We play a role in drawing nearer to God.
It reminds me of the annual tradition of New Year’s resolutions. The goal of New Year’s resolutions is to take some kind of action that ensures that we don’t end up in the same place, as we did when the year started. Year by year, we fail because we did not take the action we needed to make the resolutions successful. The same is true of drawing closer to God. Good intentions are fine, but if we do not take action we will end up spiritually in the same place we started.
Without some real effort on our part, we will not memorize more scripture. We will not confront sin in our lives. We won’t invite people we know who are far from the heart of God to church. Instead of New Year’s or any resolutions, we should sit down with God and ask “How will I grow more in love with you this year?” Or “how can I draw closer to you?”
It we do our part, God will do His.
- Should we expect God to do all the heavy lifting in our lives? What is our role?
- Read 1 Kings 19:12: What does it mean to listen for God’s still small voice. Read 1 Kings 19:13: What does it mean to draw near to God’s still small voice. Read 1 Kings 19:14-18: What does it mean to be led by God’s still small voice.
- What can we do this week to draw closer to God?