The Secret Access To God
What is the right way to grow in a relationship with God? How is this even possible?
Are you ready for a secret? I see so many advertisements based on this hook. Five secret steps to… whatever! People are always looking for the secret in, the answer to all, the way to get to. In our faith, it isn’t much different.
How do we gain access to God? Even as a pastor, I go through times when this very question haunts me, when it seems like God is a million miles away, across an impassable void. It grows discouraging and it can be overwhelming. When I am at my worst in this thought process God always reminds of one simple truth, go back to the basics, return to the purity of my faith. God is already here.
Ephesians 2:8 gives us a very important truth, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” I did nothing to earn the way to God, He did it all. If He did it all, considering the fact that the original way was paved completely free of any of my actions and also that I was completely lost and completely evil (Romans 5:8) and so completely undesirable within myself, and that God does not change (Malachi 3:6), then the way to Him AFTER I have been justified can’t be harder than the way before. In fact, it’s just the same, only now I know. Or at least I should.
The way to God is Jesus, which has already been accomplished by what He did and I have already received of that benefit through faith. There is no more coming to God, He is already present. See, knowing this truth changes my pursuit. I don’t have to look for God, I only have to access Him. When I understand that God has not left me (Hebrews 13:5), it isn’t a matter of finding Him, it’s a matter of drawing near to Him.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” Near as I can tell, this is written to those who are already believers. The path of the believer should not be in finding God, it should be in drawing near to Him. Even being Spirit led is not finding the Holy Spirit but learning to yield to Him. When we realize this and we let it be settled in us, we will approach everything differently. Reading His word, prayer, going to church, all these things are about drawing near to God. Drawing near to God is about knowing and having a relationship with Him. The byproduct of a relationship with the living God is living the life He has provided for you.
The devil would have us stressed about all these pursuits. He turns them (in our minds anyway) into works. We are saved for works (Ephesians 2:10) but not by works. The works are something that flow from our relationship not something that creates it. Did I pray enough, did I serve enough, did I read enough? You never approach eating that way. When you’re hungry you do what you know nourishes you, when you’re full you stop eating. If you’re tired, you know what to do, you sleep. It’s really that simple.
We live in a world built around distractions. This is why the Bible tells us not to live for the world. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy this world, it means don’t live for it. Everything around us is vying for our attention. Do not think this strange in a world whose lord is the devil. Satan has ensnared God’s people by their own affections but this is nothing new. James 1:14 tells us, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” There are many options for sin, all based around your favorite flavor!
Recently, the Lord has really been stressing with me the need to press into godly things. Not so much because I don’t love godly things but so I won’t be drawn away by things that are not. The more we live aware of Him the more He can make us overcomers. The more we overcome, the more we will reach people who do not. The more we reach those people, the greater we grow His kingdom thus fulfilling His purpose in us. The more we do that the more pleased He is with us. That doesn’t sound bad.
In closing that is what diligently seeking Him (Hebrews 11:6) is all about. It isn’t about amounts of time in prayer or word or even church. It’s about living a life devoted to close living with Him. Therein lies the real answer to life and our purpose: Life that’s lived and drawn closely upon Him. We are His creation for His pleasure and in His pleasure we discover ours!