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                                                       Drawing Close To God

Jas 4:8 tells us: Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Heb 10:22 tells us:  let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings,

It should be noted that in the 4th chapter of James he is talking to sinners. When someone comes to God and repents of their sins then they have already drawn closer to God to some degree but a Christian can also draw closer to God and have a closer relationship with him by striving to please him and know him better.

We all have to deal with different kinds of problems in this life. We are going to have test and trials. We may have to deal with problems such as physical, financial, spiritual, fear, worry, stress, depression etc. We also know that the closer we are to God the easier it will be to handle these tough situations and learn to trust God more and more for help. The question is how do we grow close to God? How do we go about achieving that close personal relationship with God? How do we get the fire burning again? There are many things we can do to strengthen our relationship with God but number one on the list is:

Spend time with God.  How will you ever have a friend unless you spend time with them? How will you ever trust anyone unless you get to know them? Have you ever had a best friend? They became your best friend because you spent time with them and shared your good and bad times with them. You laughed together and cried together because you were close to them. It’s the same way with God. He wants us to talk to him every day. He desires “alone time” with us.

Look at it this way. Suppose you knew someone but you never spent time together. You might run into each other every few months and just say a casual “hello” and go on about your business. What if this person contacts you out of the blue and needs some help. Maybe they need money, a ride somewhere or a baby sitter etc. Now consider your best friend. The one that you spend a lot of time with, laugh with, go places with etc. They tell you that they are in a bind and need to borrow some money. Which one are you more likely to help? The one you’re close to or the one you hardly ever see? Do you think it’s the same way with God? It’s so important that we spend “alone time” with God.

Mat 6:6 says:  (But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father.)
Notice that it says to close the door before you pray. This is because God wants us to be in a distraction-free environment with no interruptions. Even Jesus needed to have a distraction-free environment. Luk 5:16 says: (But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.) Notice that it says often.

We should also have uninterrupted Bible time and take the necessary steps to do it every day. Maybe that means going to bed a few minutes early, so we can get up before the rest of the house wakes. Or, maybe that means turning off the cell phones, iPads and TVs so we can focus on what God wants to say to us as we read the Bible. Even reading the Bible for just 10 minutes a day, every day can change the rest of your days.
Here are some suggestions to help us grow closer to God.

1. Start a daily journal and at the end of the day or the next morning write down what God done for you that day. Only put positive comments in this journal. List anything to remind you of what God has done for you. Maybe it’s an answered prayer or you had the opportunity to witness to someone. Maybe God gave you a safe trip somewhere or you just had a really good day. There is so much that God does for us but if you can’t think of anything then write in the journal that God allowed you to wake up and see another day. The purpose of this journal is to have something to look back on to remind us of how good God is to us and all he has done for us. When the pressures and stress of life starts to weigh you down then you can look in your journal as a reminder of all the prayers God has answered and all he has brought us through.

2.
Start a prayer journal. Use the prayer journal to write down the names of everyone that you would like to pray for. Don’t try to pray for everybody at one time. Pick out one or two names from your prayer journal and take a few minutes every day to pray for those people. If you can, try to do this a couple of times a day. The next day chose some different people to pray for and so on. If you only pray for one or two people at a time then it is easier to focus on the need of that particular person. We all need prayer at one time or another but it might be a good idea to give priority to those that are lost because their souls are at stake and we never know when they might leave this world. After you pray for someone you might want to put a check mark beside their name and add another checkmark every time you pray for them. When the prayer gets answered then maybe circle their name and put the answered prayer in your daily journal. These are just some suggestions so do whatever works best for you.

3. Try to take time during the day to meditate on the goodness of God. Php 4:8 says:  (Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.)

4. Spend time doing things for God. Sometimes instead of asking God what he can do for us we need to ask God what we can do for him. Doing things for God doesn’t always mean doing something spiritual. We can volunteer to help at a function at church, we can give someone a ride to the grocery store, we could let someone go in front of us when waiting in line. Sometimes just a friendly smile and a “hello” can brighten someone’s day. Seek opportunities to do good to others. Return evil with good. We can let our light shine in many different ways.

5. Be an encouragement to others. Maybe visit or call someone to just let them know that you are thinking about them. Let them know that you wanted to see how they are doing and if they needed anything. Sometimes we never realize the impact we have on someone when we show them that we care about them.

6. Fasting is another way to draw closer to God. People fast in different ways. Some may fast for days without any food at all, some may give up lunch for a day or a few days. How you fast is entirely up to you but however you do it God will honor it if it is done from the heart.

7. Always have a thankful heart. Eph 5:20 says:  (always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.) When God does something for you let others know. This not only shows God that you’re thankful but may help someone that is going through the same thing that God brought you through.

8. We should do our best to work on having a positive attitude. As we draw closer to God we will find it easier to be more positive about our life. This is very important because attitude affects our prayer and praise to the Lord. Consider how our attitude contributes to someone else’s day. The truth is that our attitude directly affects whether or not we are a blessing or a curse.

Summary

1. Start a daily journal to keep a record of what God does for us.
2. Start a prayer journal. This help to give more personalized attention to those we pray for.
3. Meditate on the goodness of God.
4. Spend time doing things for God. Ask God what we can do for him.
5. Be an encouragement to others.
6. Fast however you feel led.
7. Have a thankful heart. God is so good to us that there is always something to be thankful for.
8. Strive to have a positive attitude. Our attitude directly affects others.