Skip to main content

Drawing Near

I'm excited to announce that we have a Guest Blogger today! Following on from her preach at the 11am meeting last Sunday, here's a great article by Kerith's Worship Pastor Helen Cottee.
James 4: 6-8
‘God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble’.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you’ 

I’ve always loved the last part of that verse. The promise that as we draw near to God, he will draw near to us. It’s such an incredible reality of our relationship with God – a God who wants to be in relationship with us, who wants to be close to us, who created us to live that way. The tangible, earth-shanking, comfort bringing, hope restoring presence of God is what he wants us to engage with, and is our deepest need. I know for me there have been times when God’s presence has felt so far away but the bible promises that there is nowhere we can flee from his presence – how does that work?! My musings on this passage have helped me to see that the problem is never with God’s presence but is based on our heart state as we approach God. 

I had never recognised the link between verse 6 and verse 8 in this passage. In fact I had no idea they were together! But I am realising that the issue of pride and humility have huge impact on our ‘drawing near’ experiences.

The problem is that in our broken sinful state we neither deserve nor can earn the right to be in God’s presence. He is holy, he is perfect, and we are most certainly not! The only way we can have access to God is though grace – the saving grace that envelopes us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, his all-encompassing love which takes our breath away in the light of what we actually deserve, mercy which says ‘I can go free’ even though I am guilty as sin. Literally. And a million more unfathomable, eternity sized murmurs of grace which I often miss as I am surrounded by them so constantly.

If grace is the key and this verse highlights that it is given to the humble, we need to seek humility in every way we can – whether it’s in our attitude to God or to other people. God resists the proud because the proud resist his grace. Pride says I can earn my way in, that my way is the best way, it doesn’t recognise its need for grace and the fact that by its nature it is given to the undeserving. Humility on the other hand recognises that grace will never deal with me on the basis of anything I can bring to the table, either good or bad, but only on the basis of who Jesus is and what he has done. The humble access grace, and grace opens up access to God.
So we need to be diligent in dealing with pride. I came across a list of indicators of pride in the ‘Freedom in Christ’ course and thought it may help to have them written down to go through in your own time. Let God’s Spirit speak to your heart as you read these and then ask him to show you how best to humbly combat prideful attitudes which so easily sneak in.

Indicators of pride:

·         Having a stronger desire to do my own will rather than God’s

·         Leaning too much on my own understanding and experience rather than seeking God’s guidance

·         Relying on my own strengths and abilities instead of depending on the power of the Holy Spirit

·         Being more concerned about controlling others than developing self-control

·         Being too busy doing ‘important’ things to take time to do the little things for others

·         Having a tendency to think I have no needs

·         Finding it hard to admit I am wrong

·         Being more concerned about pleasing people than pleasing God

·         Being concerned about getting the credit I feel I deserve

·         Thinking I am more humble, spiritual, religious or devoted than others

The verse says to submit – hand anything you feel is an issue to God. Submit and let him work in you. Resist the devil – don’t let him lie to you, he doesn’t want you to succeed! And then the invitation to draw near and that God will draw near to you. Today, tomorrow, every day, draw near to him in whatever way you like – through songs, prayer, reflection, dance (not my favourite I have to admit!) – whatever helps you to be close to God and then just wait and see what he will do!

The new song we’re singing at church at the moment is based on my reflections on this passage – specifically our need for God’s presence. If it would help you, use this as a tool to help you draw near .


Popular posts from this blog

African sky

I'm writing this in the eerie light of Monday afternoon - anyone else noticed the yellow-tinged sky? I'm reliably informed (thanks Jake!) that the high winds are picking up dust particles from Liberia and North Africa, turning our sky a yellowish colour and definitely giving off an unusual atmosphere! Kind of intriguing too, as we are about to leave for a 10 day trip to Zambia this evening! We're flying overnight, and when we get there temperatures are high 90s - I have no idea how I'm going to cope with that at I'm not even thinking about it right now! 
We'll stay a few days in Lusaka, visiting Sam and Hannah Fairs-Billam and their girls;  and Tehila, the charity they run, Then it's a 5 hour journey North to reconnect with the pastors and families in Serenje, and visit the Dormitory to meet the girls. 
Please do pray for us - safety and good health, pray for our families, pray that everywhere we go we take people up in their lift! (If like me you…

Not the Summer I'd Planned

"Life's detours means  God wants you to run right into His arms  so He can reconstruct your heart"  Ann Voskamp
Well, let's just say that it's not been the summer I thought I was going to have!!! 
I'm so grateful we had our relaxing holiday in the sunshine
I'm so grateful it's summer time, and therefore not so many work commitments
I'm so grateful for my family being around
I'm so grateful for a wonderful and kind church family

If I was going to have an accident slip over on the back door my wedges...feeding the dogs.. and dislocate and fracture my ankle...then I'm so glad I was at home with family around and with access to swift expert medical help.

The accident was so sudden and it was immediately obvious that I couldn't sort it on my own! I'm pretty squeamish so I'll save you the details, but the angle of my foot prompted me to say out loud "I've just done something really bad".

Funny isn't it, when yo…

It's been a while

So, I've been gone a while....and  I've been wondering about launching a new blog - perhaps a new look,a new blog, a totally new start? In the wondering I've done nothing, so instead, I'm just going to pick it up again, and start writing.... 
So this week I had the privilege of spending time with some Prayer warriors in the Kerith Prayer room. We gathered to pray for the upcoming Mission Trips to Albania and Macedonia.  - They did me such good, as they shared what God had been saying to them in their own prayer times - words of encouragement that He will bring restoration of relationships; He will bring healing ; there will be lots of new people who haven't been to UNIKE before; there'll be a fresh move of the Holy Spirit; somethingnewandmoreis going to happen this year; He is going to take things to another level. You can imagine how excited I was to hear these whispers from God - join me in a moment's prayer right now, that we'll see Him work?
It's …