“Draw near to God”
James says in verse 8,
“and he will draw near to you.”
He’s pulling a term out of the Old Testament that was used to describe the way a priest would approach God in worship and basically, he’s saying, if you are going to live at peace with others, you’ve got to have a deep, personal, intimate, relationship with God.
Putting it in terms of a third commitment you need to make in the middle of conflict:
“I commit to not letting my relationship with God become an academic thing, but instead to regularly pursue Him in personal worship.”
Which unfortunately can sometimes be a rare thing, even with people who go to church.
It’s easy for us to allow our own time with God to slip.
And so we come on Sundays.
But we are not engaging with God. We are talking but not praying. We are sitting there but we are not hearing. We are opening our Bibles but we are not delighting.
And we’re not denying, maybe, the gospel, we are just not enjoying it.
We are so busy with our lives, that everything comes before God and we don’t take any time, to just get our knees and talk to God and open our Bibles, and cry out, God show me who you are.
Which is so important.
For one thing, because James says, as we draw near to God, you know what God does?
God draws near to us.
And you know what happens, when you are in God’s presence really?
You stop being so concerned about yourself.
You stop think you are so smart.
In the Bible, when people really see the glory of God, you know where they are, they are on their faces, and when you are on your face before God, you know what it is really hard to do, it is really hard to fight with someone else.
Sometimes when you find yourself starting to get upset with someone else about something, it’s a good time to ask yourself, how’s my worship going?
When was the last time I was really amazed by God?
And you know, if it’s been a while, maybe you should put that conflict on the shelf for a little bit. Just say you know what, I might have to deal with this, but I am just not in the space right now, to know, because I am not enjoying God the way I should.
And that’s not an excuse, where you say, I don’t ever have to deal with conflict, it’s just a reality, you go and you say, God help me enjoy you, help me be amazed by you, because it’s really only when we have got the right perspective on God, that we are going to be able to have the right perspective on anything else.
And sometimes, this takes work.
I can remember times when I have been in a conflict, that conflict can become everything you think about, all the time. You are going out to pray, and the only thing you pray about is the conflict. You are at church. And all you can think about is the conflict.
And that’s why this commitment is so important.
Because you are going to have to say, I know this conflict is a big deal, and I need to deal with it, but it’s not everything there is, and I can’t allow it to consume me.
I’ve also got to be delighting in God.
And so I am going to take some time to say no to these thoughts that keep drawing me away from looking at God, and I am going to just going to focus on Him.