Nearer, my God, to Thee

Drawing Closer to God

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary: Most Christians will tell you that they want to get closer to God. Fewer succeed in doing that. You can experience that closeness to God by following a few simple biblical principles.

Jeremiah 31:3  The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

•• When you determine to get closer to God, be assured that you are not presuming or imposing, because God is “draw[ing] you”. He loves you, and He loves to draw you close to Himself. That being God’s heart, it is good and desirable for you to draw near to Him often.

•• As you draw close to God in prayer, in worship, and in His Word the Bible, remember and be encouraged by the fact that He loves you!

•• And know that His love for you is “everlasting”; it won’t disappear because you’ve faltered or sinned.

Psalm 55:17, KJV  Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.

•• Jesus modeled prayer, and He prayed extensively. He taught His followers to pray. Paul spoke often of his continual prayers. The apostles in Jerusalem “gave themselves to prayer” (Acts 6:4).

•• A suggestion from this verse — try a three-times-daily prayer schedule.
(1) Tape a note on the bathroom mirror to pray first thing in the morning.

(2) Put a note on your bedside end table to pray last thing at night.

(3) Set aside one period of time during the day to pray.

• These can be short times; just try be faithful to them.

Psalm 119:164  Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.

•• Consciously, deliberately cultivate the habit of uttering brief exclamations of praise to God throughout the day.
• This develops a God- and Christ-awareness in us.

Matthew 11:28-30  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and i will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

•• “Come to [Jesus].” He wants you close to Him. He’s called “the Bridegroom”. That means He loves you.

•• Are you feeling “weary” and “burdened”? That’s the time, not to “zone out,” but to “come to” Jesus.

•• You’ll find gentleness there with Him, not scolding or reproof. He will “give you rest ... for your soul.”
• So come — and come often, daily — to Jesus.

Hebrews 4:14-16  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. [15] For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. [16] Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

•• As you come with confidence to Jesus on His throne of grace, remember that He sympathizes with your weaknesses; He does not despise them (or you!).

•• Remember that the Savior you are approaching has “been through” what you are going through. He was “tempted in every way, just as we are”, yet without sinning.

•• In His presence you will find, not condemnation, but “mercy and ... grace”.

James 4:7-8a  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [8] Come near to God and he will come near to you.

8a, KJV  Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.

•• “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” This means we basically abandon ourselves to Him and place ourselves totally in His hands.

•• “[You] draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.”
• God expects us to take some initiative in drawing closer to Him. As we do, He reciprocates — guaranteed! This means you can always be close to God, if you choose to draw near to Him.

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©1999, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.