Let’s start thinking about this simple, but profound promise (Draw Near To God, and He Will Draw Near To You) by going back to square one, and moving forward with ideas on actual ways to do this.
In either your experience or your understanding, who approached whom first, you or God? You may have searched or studied about God, feeling that you were the driving force. However, most of us who now know God by faith and experience have come to understand from His Word that He is the One who took the initiative in our relationship, and even our own efforts were guided by Him. This does not in any way devalue the FREE WILL He provided us, based on His love for us. God will never force Himself on us, and the love He shows us in giving us free will has a lot to do with Him wanting us to CHOOSE to know Him and love Him back. He could have made us ROBOTS, but that would have killed the essence of us choosing to respond to His love and thereby experience a growing, vital, dynamic love relationship with Him.
So, what is the bedrock way to see and experience His love initiative toward us? Jesus’ whole brief life on earth focused on His mission as Emmanuel (God with us) to show us God in flesh-action on His way to offer us salvation via the cross and the empty tomb. All forces of human and evil spiritual authorities tried to kill or sidetrack Jesus from His mission to become our savior by paying full price for all our sins. Perhaps the strongest potential deterrent from His mission was the foreknowledge of the pending physical, spiritual, and emotional pain He faced in his mock trials and crucifixion. For example He sweat drops of blood as he wrestled to seek any alternative to making full payment by taking ALL our sins upon Himself on the cross. Since none was to be found if we were to be given the invitation of heaven in God’s holy presence, dressed in Christ’s robe of righteousness, the third time Jesus agonized alone in prayer, he yielded, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” Psalm 22 predicted His cries from the cross, as well as the answer to His grueling WHY question. “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help?...3 Yet you are holy”
So God the Father, Son, and Spirit planned before our known world began, to provide man a way that would satisfy God’s holiness, to live in their holy presence forever. They took love initiative way beyond our comprehension to invite us to love and worship them back. Only those who are impacted by the magnitude of such love, and respond with a decisive RSVP act of their will and commitment, will experience that extended transforming love, and be allowed into the holy presence of God forever.
So for those only, who have RSVP’d for heaven, God now offers us the opportunity to respond to His love initiative, in kind, with our initiative to draw near to Him. It is no surprise that some of these “methods” include: prayer, worship, adoration, sharing His worthiness and glory with others, and cooperating daily with the Holy Spirit to allow Him to produce and refine His fruit in us (which includes love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and Spirit-control). As we see God at work in this world and join Him as partners (ambassadors), we experience His enablement, filling, equipping, and transforming power at work in, through, and around us. As we mostly listen and worship in prayer we see Him High and lifted up. In King David’s impactful Psalm 51 prayer of brokenness and repentance, he prays, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. There are many such ways to respond to God’s love and experience Him drawing near to us, but the first step is to accept His love initiative to us on the cross where the dearest and best died for us.
For more, please see: How to Draw Nearer to God; John Hoelzel Sr; 2011; Amazon.com