Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Draw near

I was just thinking about the words of James when he says: "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you". It got me thinking about what it actually means to "draw near". We could all give the standard evangelical responses about prayer and Bible study (both of which are the first things I thought about too). But what does it actually mean?

You know as well as I do that we find it hard to do the prayer and Bible study things, possibly because we see them as tasks to complete in order to fulfil some regulation or requirement. But what if we think for a while about the process of drawing near.

What if you want to draw near to someone, anyone. Just to get to know them. What would you do? Well to start with you probably wouldn't begin with a long list of all your worries and problems. You wouldn't present them with a shopping list of how they can meet your needs and what it's like living your life.

No, you begin by trying to find about about them. You'd ask questions about what they do with their time, what they like and dislike. You'd explore common areas of interest to see if there are activities in which you could share. You might even ask how you can help them achieve their goals.

You see, prayer and Bible study are not ends in themselves but the means to the end of drawing closer to God. It becomes a matter of asking the right questions. As you read you're looking for things that will tell you who God is, what he's doing, what makes him smile and what might make him cry. You are searching out ways in which you can engage with his purposes and plans rather than trying to draw him into yours.

If you are finding praying and reading the Bible a chore, why not stop for a moment and think about what kind of conversation you would like to have with someone who wants to get to know you, then reverse the roles and apply it to getting to know God.

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