So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. James 4:7-10 (NLT)
What is it that has most prevented you from coming to me? What has hindered you from drawing near to me? Those are good questions. Do you have an answer? Yes, I have an answer, but it is not a good one. Why is that? My answer will be correct. It will not be good. I’m listening. I have lived a pride filled, self-reliant and self-sufficient life. Somewhere deep down inside of me, I must have told myself that I have no need to draw near to you, because my life was going quite nicely. You’re right, that is a correct answer and it is not a good one. It is only correct in that it described my almost unconscious self-talk and thoughts. Yet, it is a false answer in every other way. How so? A life without you, is never going quite nicely. A pride filled, self-reliant and self-sufficient life is an empty life without hope or joy or peace. It is a life headed toward disaster. It is a dark and sinful life that will most certainly be bruised and battered and broken before long. This is your voice of experience isn’t it? Yes, it is.
You are no longer living a pride-filled, self-reliant, and self-sufficient life. No, I am not. What happened to you? I discovered the error of my ways. I learned that the true wages of sin is death. I was fully bruised and battered and broken. My lifestyle led me to rock bottom. There was no more pride or self-reliance, or self-sufficiency left in me. All I could do was humbly cry out to you. All I wanted to do was draw near to you. You helped me to come to you. Yes, I did. What else did I do for you? You drew near to me. You heard my cry and prayer. You came into my life. You healed my bruised and battered and broken life. You allowed me to taste of your kindness and mercy and love. You lifted me up and have set me on a path of loving and following and serving you. Yes, I have done all these things for you. My life has never been the same since. That is very good. Yes, it is. Thank you, Lord.
Lord, I have lived a pride filled life with divided loyalties. I have followed you and the ways of the world. No more, no longer, not me. I will submit my heart, mind and life to you. I will draw near to you. Draw near to me. I will follow you to wherever you lead me. Amen
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