Are You Near Enough to Yield?
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. James 4:8 (NASB)
Throughout the three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, people drew near to Him. But not all who approached Jesus truly wanted Him to draw near to them.
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to challenge His authority and discredit His ministry. Hundreds of other people approached Jesus just to get something. Most wanted healing. Some wanted food. A few wanted vindication, like the young man who demanded, “Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (Luke 12:13).
Jesus let them all come. He let them all ask. But He didn’t draw near to all of them, not in the sense that all human beings need Jesus to draw near to them. What we need is the forgiveness He offers and the new life He has promised to those who give Him their full allegiance. He doesn’t bestow those gifts on people who come with hands that are quick to grab and run! He gives them to those who draw near with hearts that are ready to yield their lives to Him (Hebrews 10:22).
Hymn writer Fanny Crosby approached Jesus with that kind of heart. She knew the difference between drawing near just to receive and drawing near to yield. She wanted “to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to [God].” In “I Am Thine, O Lord,” this was her humble prayer:
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.
It’s not wrong to come to the throne of grace to receive. God tells us to do that so that He can provide the help we need (Hebrews 4:16). But He also longs for us to give Him the worship He deserves, the gratitude He has earned, and the fellowship He desires. When we take the time to do that, we will experience the joy Fanny Crosby described in the following words:
O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!
Read Hebrews 10:22-26. What should our attitude be when we draw near to God? If we draw near to God with the proper attitude, how will that affect our interaction with other people?
Read Psalm 73:21-28. Why does Asaph say that it’s good to draw near to God? As he fellowshiped with God, how did his perspective change?
Read Matthew 15:1-9. Although most translations use “honor” in the first part of verse 8, the Greek word is eggizo, which is translated “draw near” in James 4:8 and other places. How is honoring God related to drawing near to Him?
To read all of the lyrics to “I Am Thine, O Lord” go to http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/a/iatolord.htm
Denise K. Loock
*Note: This devotion appears in a slightly different form in Open Your Hymnal Again: Devotions That Harmonize Scripture With Song. Order a copy at http://tinyurl.com/cnf699n