Apostle James issues a clarion call in his New Testament epistle – draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). It is comforting to imagine that if you take the initiative, God is willing to draw closer to you. This is what makes the Christian faith so unique. As Moses observed, there is no other nation that has a God so close to them that when they reach out to Him, God responds (Deuteronomy 4:7).
But How Exactly Does One Draw Near To God?
Here are some of the ways you can get closer to God.
- Bible Study
Let us take a closer look at each of these.
In its simplest definition, prayer is a two-way channel through which humanity communicates with divinity. A relationship expert will tell you that communication is one of the foundations of a healthy relationship. Studies on failed marriages have revealed that lack of communication accounts for at least 65% of all failed marriages. Similarly, it is impossible to have a close relationship with God when you are not in communication with Him – and you do this through prayer.
A study of people who have been/are close to God will reveal that they all spent lots of time in prayer. Jesus would spend hours at night and during the wee hours of the morning in secluded prayer. It therefore comes as no wonder that he would confidently make statements like “I and the father are one”(John 10:30) or “The son only does what he sees his father doing” (John 5:19). Borrow a leaf from Jesus and start drawing close to your heavenly father through prayer.
Apostle John opens his gospel by stating that there is really no difference between God and his word. Check it out;
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
The implication is that you cannot have a relationship with God if you have neglected reading his word. It is only through regular Bible study that can get to understand his will for your life. When you get to know God’s will, it will be easier to live a life that pleases him and that will ultimately make you closer to him.
If you think about it, anyone who writes a love letter to someone they love wants the recipient to read it. The worst feeling would be to pour your heart into the letter only for the recipient to toss it in the trash without even bothering to read it. When you ignore God’s word, you may be inadvertently establishing a gulf between you and God. If you feel a distance between you and God, it could be because you haven’t been spending enough time in Bible study. You might want to rectify that from today.
Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty. 2 Cor. 16-18
In Numbers 6, Moses outlined the laws of nazirites. Nazirites were people who voluntarily took a vow of service to God. As a sign of their commitment, they would vow to avoid defiling themselves through alcohol, handling defiled things, as well as avoiding doing some things that were considered normal by the public. A good example of this is Samson who in addition to avoiding alcohol also never shaved his head from birth.
You can still be a New Testament Nazairite by separating yourself from God’s service. Granted, you may not need to take drastic measures like not shaving your hair but you can still separate yourself from ungodly things. However, there are other things that do not necessarily unfold but you can still separate yourself from them for purposes of serving God. For instance, you can stay away from food for a period in order to spend more time with God through prayer and fasting. When you become “set apart” for God, God will draw near you.
Meditation is very common in Eastern religions but not as common in Christianity. Interestingly, the Bible has a lot to say about meditation. Some of the people who had a very close relationship with God were very good at meditation. A great example of this is David. From as early as the first chapter of Pslams, David makes it clear that he meditates on the word of God day and night.
The Bible’s kind of mediation may be very different from the world’s definition of mediation. For instance, most Eastern religions teach that you meditate by emptying your mind and focusing on nothing. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that you meditate by filling your mind with Godly thoughts (e.g. from the Bible). This means that you need to start by being a student of the word of God. After reading and studying his words, you can spend time meditating on the same. There are three things the Bible instructs us to meditate on. These are:
- Meditate on God’s word – think about his promises which the Bible describes as Yes and Amen. (Psalms 1:2-3, 119:97Joshua 1:8,)
- Meditate on his wondrous works. Think about the great things that God has done for you, your family, and your friends as well as in the scriptures. It will help you release faith for the miraculous (Psalms 143:5).
- Meditate on Godly things. Be filled with Godly thoughts Instead of filling your mind with worry and other negative thoughts. (Philippians 4:8, Psalms 104:34)
Mediation will make your heart more receptive to God’s word and God’s will which will help you to get closer to Him.
Prayer, Bible study, meditation, and separation are by no means the only ways of getting closer to God. For instance, some people say they feel closest to God when they are out in nature. However, the four principles suggested as a good place to begin because they not only help you get closer to God but also help you grow in faith.