A medical study a decade ago tracked people recovering from heart surgery. They found that those who were part of a close community healed faster and more completely than those who weren’t. Closeness is always better than distance. In relationships, people are always more stable and healthy when they are close to others. The same goes for our relationship with Jesus. When we draw near to God, He draws near us.
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Submit to Him
Very few passages in the Bible give as clear a directive as James does in the passage. What to draw near to God? First, submit to Him, then resist the devil. Too many people try to circumvent this process and wonder why God doesn’t seem close. Submitting to God means that you go before Him each morning and offer your life as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1). You recognize that inside of you rages the battle of the flesh and the Spirit, and you need Him to be in control. You pray just as Jesus did “Not my will, but Your will be done.”
If we want to draw near to God, we also need to consecrate ourselves. This is spiritual language for getting ourselves clean before God. James tells us to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. Unclean hands mean that we have both sinned and been involved in actions that are unglorifying to God. We need to repent of these and ask God to make us clean again. (1 John 1:9) Purifying our hearts addresses those secrets, sins, and thoughts, things like envy, lust, and bitterness. No one sees these, but God does, and we need to get right. Once we are clean, then access to drawing near is open.
Draw Near to God
Being in the presence of God is where every Christian should desire to be. AS we draw near to Him, His love feels stronger. It wraps us like a warm blanket, and we experience his joy and peace. Our hearts beat in sync with His, and our eyes begin to see what He sees. The best part is that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. Heed the words of James and do what is necessary t draw near to God.