The Baptist Beacon
Draw Nigh To God
By Elder Jeff Elliott
In the book of James the Bible tells us, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8). In my 20 years of service to God I have learned many things. One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is that being close to God is very important. I have seen and met people in the Lord's work that think being close to God is automatic after one is saved. But it is a life_long job trying to stay nigh to God. It's not automatic!
When Adam was in the garden he walked and talked with God. It was a privilege he had because he was created without sin. But as the book of Genesis tells us he broke God's law (Genesis 3:6) and sin entered the world. He was not able after that to walk with God. After breaking the law of God the Bible tells us that "they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves form the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and hid myself" (Genesis 3:8_10). But thanks be unto God who gave his Son to die on Calvary! God, because of His great foreknowledge, knew Adam would sin and made a way for all the world to be reconciled back to Him through His Son, Jesus. The Bible says, Jesus was a "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). So I believe mankind is without excuse for not being nigh to God.
Being nigh to God involves work. Many of God's people have forgotten this concept! We just expect God to save our children, keep us healthy, and help our churches to grow. The book of James also says, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22). It also says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up" (James 4:7_10). Don't think to yourselves that showing up on Sunday morning and filling a pew will get you nigh to God. The Bible says; "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works" (James 2:14_18).
Brothers and Sisters, if you truly want to be a soul_winner for the Lord and be close to God as the Book of Proverbs tells us we should, it will take more than a passive religion. I believe it is possible to walk with God. The Bible tells us that Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:21). Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9). These men were flesh and blood, just as we are. I believe they worked to be nigh to God. Therefore, if our forefathers walked with God, we also can draw nigh to God and walk with Him, if we have the desire to.