Saturday, January 3, 2015

You Make The First Move

Read JAMES 4:8

Today begins an exciting chapter in the story of your life. In the story of your church. For some who were at the service this morning, it was just another Sunday—nothing changed. They are now who they were when they walked through the doors this morning. But not YOU. You have declared war on apathetic Christianity and a banner of revolution has been raised over your life. A battle cry rages from somewhere deep down in your soul. Revolting against routine religion. Revolting against predictable piety. Revolting against the mundane and the monotonous.

“How do you know this is true for me?” you may be asking. Simple. You wouldn’t be reading this if it wasn’t.

You have determined that there is more of God to be had than you have experienced. There are higher heights and deeper depths. There is uncharted territory in this vast expanse called the Christian life and something, or more appropriately Someone, is calling you to explore. To navigate away from the smooth pavement and take your faith off-road.

Looking forward to this next month together, anticipation and expectation fill me as we seek to be “all in” in our faith. As we walk alongside one another on this journey, I know that we will be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith (see Romans 1:12) I believe wholeheartedly that the next few weeks literally have the potential to shape your destiny. How can I be so confident that something so big is about to happen in our midst? The answer is an easy one—because God is a God of promise.

Last Sunday (December 28) I taught on the promise of James 4:8. We are promised that if we will come near to God, He will come near to us. Think about that! In this one little verse in the book of James, our Lord is issuing us a personal invitation. The Sovereign King of the cosmos is revealing the “secret” of getting His attention. God Himself is saying, “It is possible for you to be closer to Me. It is possible for you to have more of Me than you ever have. More joy, peace, hope, grace, strength, and patience. More wisdom, insight, perspective and knowledge.” In light of this divine proposition, the greatest question we can ask ourselves is HOW DO I GET GOD TO COME CLOSER TO ME? James has already told us—you make the first move.

God promises that if you will come near to Him, He will come near to you. The words “come near” have a special meaning in the Greek language. The word “eggizō” is translated as “to join one thing to another.” To help us fully appreciate this concept, consider this word picture: a young man and a young woman are on their third date. The first two dates were “as friends”, but something has happened in the young man’s heart. He realizes that he wants to pursue an exclusive relationship with this woman who has captivated his heart. He does not want her dating other guys, keeping her options open, etc. He wants her for himself. And so on this third date they sit in a dimly lit restaurant, tucked away in a corner booth. The meal finished and the dishes cleared, he reaches across the table and takes hold of both her hands. He looks her in the eyes and asks her to become his. He pledges his love and devotion to her. Physically and emotionally he is moving closer to her, hoping she will reciprocate. This is eggizō, coming near and being joined together.

So James is telling us something about the nature of our God. He wants to be pursued. In this divine romance, He wants us to move toward Him. To constantly dialogue with him in beautiful conversation (prayer). To read his love letter over and over (Bible study). To connect our heart to His in an expression of love and gratitude (worship). So as you make the first move in these areas of your spiritual life, do so knowing that God WILL take notice and WILL respond. As you come near to Him, He will come near to you. You will be joined with Him, and your life will never be the same. It’s a promise from God Himself.

So as your friend and fellow believer, I exhort you to make the first move and see what God does.

Hadley Baker

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