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Why Are We Called to Draw Near to God?

Drawing near to God gives peace to our souls; peace from the burden of our sins and peace in the midst of the burdens that come to us through others’ sin as well. The nearness of God is our answer.

Crosswalk.com Contributor
Oct 11, 2021
Why Are We Called to Draw Near to God?

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:20-22).

"Draw near to God." Every story the Bible contains has an overarching theme running through it: the heartbeat of God to have a relationship with His children. When He formed Adam from the dust and Eve from his rib, He uniquely set His image inside people.

No other facet of creation bears that special mark of God, no matter how glorious it is, from Yosemite Valley to the angels of heaven. His image is a bit of a mystery and can be hard for us to discern. I imagine the muddiness of sin has something to do with our loss of perceptive.

Regardless of what exactly God’s image inside us is, it calls us back to Him. And His call is always for us to draw into His presence because it is what we were made for.

In the earliest days after Creation, God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. They shared God’s presence without hindrance between them. Once sin entered the world, that fellowship broke. When God began rebuilding the people of Israel after their slavery in Egypt, God said this:

This is the thing that the LORD commanded you to do, that the glory of the LORD may appear to you.” Then Moses said to Aaron, Draw near to the altar and offer your sin offering and your burnt offering and make atonement for yourself and for the people, and bring the offering of the people and make atonement for them, as the LORD has commanded” (Leviticus 9:6-7).

How Are We Called to Draw Near to God?

One of the first ways people were directed to draw near to God was through admitting their sin, agreeing with the truth that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) through an animal sacrifice. The sacrifice was meant to show an agreement with God over the gravity of their sin and the need for their sin to be atoned or paid for.

In Psalms, we see David pleading for God to draw near to him as his soul is overwhelmed with the pressures of his enemies:

Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies! (Psalms 69:18).

In the New Testament, we are all advised:

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Drawing near to God gives peace to our souls; peace from the burden of our sins and peace in the midst of the burdens that come to us through others’ sin as well. The nearness of God is our answer. His nearness is our need.

But as for me, the nearness of God is good for me; I have made the Lord God my refuge, So that I may tell of all Your works (Psalm 73:28).

Drawing near to God is good for our souls because it is in our design to be close to the One who created us. So how do we draw near to God when everything else in life distracts us away from Him? Here are three ways Scripture beckons us to draw closer to God.

1. Draw Near to God in Truth

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them (Psalm 145:18-19).

God is not impressed with us trying to be more than we are or trying to justify ourselves before Him. He is near to us when we are honest about ourselves. Jesus said that truth brings freedom (John 8:32).

When we are honest and truthful, God draws near to us, and just as God embodies the epitome of love or peace, He is freedom, so His nearness automatically brings with it the freedom our souls long for.

Just as the Lord desires our truthfulness, He rejects our hypocrisy and is then far from us when we cloak ourselves falsely before Him.

And the Lord said: “Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by mean, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden” (Isaiah 29:13-14).

2. Draw Near to God Through Trust in Christ

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

After we are honest with God and ourselves about our sin, we must come to God through trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross as the atoning payment for my sin is, to use a very superficial sort of illustration, like calling God with the right phone number.

There are lots of proposed ways to draw near to God. Most faith systems layout a means of works to earn salvation, heaven, or whatever rewards that faith delineates. Christianity is the only faith that secures salvation through one Man’s works for everyone who trusts in Him.

So, while there are lots of “phone numbers” out there, I only have one. There’s just one that I answer. In this same way, trusting that Jesus is the “right phone number,” is the way we access God.

3. Draw Near to God Through a Thankful Heart

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations (Psalm 100).

Thankfulness and praise are two positions of the heart that keep us close to God. He inhabits the praises of His people and just as Christ is a bridge between us and God, praise is a very practical bridge that carries us past all the fallen pressures and distractions of our circumstances into God’s presence.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:8).

For further reading:

When We Go to God Last Instead of First with Our Hearts

How Can We Reconnect with God?

What Does it Mean ‘To Let Go and Let God’?

How Can I Get to Know God Better?

Will We All Be Called by the Lord?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Motortion

April Motl is a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, and women’s ministry director. When she’s not waist-deep in the joys and jobs of motherhood, being a wife, and serving at church, she writes and teaches for women. You can find more encouraging resources from April here and here

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