Drawing Near To God

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears 
and delivers them out of all their troubles. 
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted 
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17–18

What must you do to draw near to God?

I think for many they treat the presence of God like having an important guest come to the house. They spend the day frantically cleaning, making everything presentable. You might put out the best china, arrange the impressive books you’ve been reading in a conspicuous place, shove other more undesirable things out of sight.

I know that when my grandma used to come to visit, she expected to find a clean room, so my brother and I would shove everything under our beds, thinking she’d never look there. Of course that was the first place she looked, and then we had to clean in earnest under her watchful eye.

The problem with this approach to God is it is a lie. To think that we have to get ourselves right before can draw near to God forgets the very reason Christ came to us. He came to heal the sick, the rescue the perishing, to save the lost. He came to save those who could not save themselves. He came to the lame, the blind, the broken, because they knew that His coming was their only hope. To think that we have to shape up before we can come to him only encourages us to boast more in ourselves, our own ability to put everything back together, that that is an illusion.

To know the nearness of God you must simply acknowledge your need for help and cry out to him. This is what the Psalmist teaches – when you see the depth of your need and cry out to Him, the Lord hears! “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

C.S. Lewis echoes this in his book, The Four Loves, “Man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God. For what can be more unlike than fullness and need, sovereignty and humility, righteousness and penitence, limitless power and a cry for help?”

If you want to know God’s fullness, admit your need.

If you want to rest in God sovereignty, humble yourself before Him.

If you want to know God’s righteousness, repent and believe in Jesus Christ for your salvation.

If you want to be strengthened by God’s almighty power, cry out to Him for help!


Evening Renewal

It’s late for my regular midweek posting, so I thought I’d end the day with a prayer from The Valley of Vision, called, “Evening Renewal.”

My Father,
If thy mercy had bounds, where would be
my refuge from just wrath?
But thy love in Christ is without measure.
Thus, I present myself to thee
With sins of commission and omission,
against thee, my Father,
against thee, adorable Redeemer,
against thee, and thy striving, O Holy Spirit,
against the dictates of my conscience,
against the precepts of thy Word,
against my neighbors and myself.
Enter not into judgment with me,
For I plead no righteousness of my own,
and have no cloak for iniquity.
Pardon my day dark with evil.
This night I renew my penitence.
Every morning I vow to love thee more fervently,
to serve thee more sincerely,
to be more devoted in my life,
to be wholly thine;
Yet soon I stumble, backslide,
and have to confess my weakness, misery, and sin.
But I bless thee that the finished work of Jesus
needs no addition from my doings,
that his oblation is sufficient satisfaction for my sins.
If future days be mine, help me to amend my life,
to hate and abhor evil,
to flee the sins I confess.
Make me more resolute, more watchful, more prayerful.
Let no evil fruit spring form evil seeds my hands have sown;
Let no neighbor be hardened in vanity and folly
by my want of circumspection.
If this day I have been ashamed of Christ and his Word,
or have shown unkindness, malice, envy,
lack of love, unadvisedly speech, hasty temper,
let it be not stumbling block to others, or dishonor to thy Name.
O help me to set an upright example that will ever
rebuke vice,
allure to goodness,
and evidence that lovely are the ways of Christ.

From: The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. (The Banner of Truth Trust)