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Drawing Near: Treasuring Communion (Part 1)

draw-near

Have you struggled to make drawing near to God a priority? Even while doing without food in order to supposedly express your hunger for God? Has it been easier to do without food than it has been to pray?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re not alone. Don’t feel condemned. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve struggled in prayer, too. And I’m leading the fast.

But there’s good news for you and me! The writer of Hebrews offers us much needed encouragement to draw near! We can’t spend long in this book and not be inspired and motivated to commune with God.

For Those Lacking Passion to Draw Near

As we can see in the verses below, the writer of Hebrews was passionate about drawing near to God:

  • Hebrews 4:16 — “Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”
  • Hebrews 7:25 — “He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
  • Hebrews 10:22 — “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”
  • Hebrews 11:6 — “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who draws near to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Clearly, drawing near to God was the writer’s main desire and goal. If you and I don’t have drawing near to God as our chief aim, Hebrews chapter ten should help us make it our number one priority. This chapter makes the case as to why we should not only take full advantage of the privilege of drawing near, we should jump at the chance:

14For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified… 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. For after He says: 16This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, says the Lord … 17I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts…

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness to enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way He has opened for us through the curtain (that is, His flesh), 21 and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:19-22. HCSB).

Did you notice how the writer makes the case for drawing near—the “therefore … since”? I’ll summarize.

Therefore:

  • Since by one sacrifice He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (v. 14), … and
  • Since He remembers our sins no more as being condemning or indicting (v. 17), … and
  • Since we can boldly enter the Holy of Holies, because by His death Jesus opened up a way to the Most Holy Place, … and
  • Since we have a great high priest who rules over God’s house…

By all means, let’s walk right up to God! He has opened the door and said, “Come on in!” There’s no admission fee, no list of demands (Jesus met them already!). Just an open door and a standing invitation—no appointment necessary.

We can go right on in and talk—actually have a conversation with:

  • the creator of the universe …
  • who upholds it by His powerful word ….
  • who is before all things and in whom all things hold together …
  • who forsook ultimate happiness in heaven to become flesh and take on the status of a slave that we might share in His holiness …
  • who died on the cross, took the wrath of God that we deserved, and purchased for us the privilege of communion …

You mean there’s an open invitation to talk to Him?!  You mean I, a fallen human being, can walk right in? And I can do so any time? I have to wait weeks to see my doctor, and he’s just a man … whose solutions aren’t even helpful half the time. You mean there’s no waiting list to talk to the Great Physician? And there’s no fee?

And what’s this — I can go any time day or night to see God the Father? Seriously? Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I don’t have to clean up my act first or earn the right? And I can come boldly? Even with all my faults and failures?

The Message says it this way:

“So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body. So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out” (vv. 19-22, MSG).

You and I can—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into the Holy of Holies! We get to have actual conversations with Him! What’s more, we get to listen to Him speak to us—the One whose words created everything we see! Whose word sustains the entire universe! And He wants to talk to us? Regularly? Uh-Maaaaaaaaaaaazing!

Why then, do we avoid it with everything in us?! Why do we postpone, procrastinate, and piddle when such an indescribable privilege awaits us? Why do we throw chump change at the marvelous sacrifice of Jesus? Why do we not simply draw near?

Divided Loyalty

Perhaps our divided loyalty is one reason we devalue the privilege of communion and relegating it to last place in our lives.

James 4:8 says:

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (ESV).

When our allegiance is divided between this temporal world and our real, eternal home, we’re double minded. Half our heart values what the world values, the other half what God values.

Being double-minded is to be drawn in two different directions. We’re trying to serve God and our own interests at the same time.

Let’s cleanse our hands, purify ourselves, and ask God to give us an undivided heart. Let’s pray as David did in Psalm 86:

“Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11, NIV).

James 4:8 tells us how we draw near: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

If we’ve committed sin, we put it under the blood of Jesus. We confess it, ask His forgiveness, and renounce it (turn from it). We ask God to examine our heart—to examine our motives and our values. And we surrender to His lordship, (we let Him be the ruler of our lives, our values, our motives).

What He wants from us is that we let Him reveal to us any area in our lives that is not submitted to Him. He wants us to be quick to turn from our sins and yield to His lordship—so that we can enjoy his presence.

As we do this, we’re drawing near. We can’t let God examine our heart without approaching Him. That’s not something that’s done at a distance.

God’s Response to Our Drawing Near

The fact that we can not only come to God but we can come in confident boldness is amazing! It’s as incomprehensible as what God promises to do in response.

As we direct our hearts into His presence, God promises to draw near to us! When we come close to God, He will come close to us:

“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”
– James 4:8, NLT
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What grace! God does not expect us to be flawless in maintaining our relationship, in abiding in Him. He knows how weak we are, that we’re only dust. (Psalm 104:13) Because of His grace, He responds to our repentance and draws near to us.

That God Most High, the Lord of Hosts, who calls Himself a jealous God, will come close to me and come close to you—even if we’ve failed Him this week, this day, or the second prior to drawing near—is incomprehensible! #WhatGrace!

How can we not draw near? How can we not run into His presence this very minute? Today, tomorrow, this week, this year let’s take full advantage of the privilege we’ve been given through Jesus’ precious blood and draw near!

May this fast not just change our communion these twenty-one days, may it change our communion the entire year! May God respond to our prayer and seeking and fill us with the desire and the discipline to draw near! 

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
– James 4:8

“The Lord is near to all who call on him.”
– Psalm 145:18

A Moment of Worship: Draw Near

Draw Near featuring Jeremy Riddle
From the Album: The Loft Sessions by Bethel Music

Listen in Apple Music or Download to iTunes
Listen in Prime Music or Buy from Amazon

Focus Questions:

  • Do you realize what a privilege it is to be able to draw near to God? Are you in awe of the fact that you can boldly walk into the presence of the King of Kings without hesitation? Does it amaze you that you have instant access any time day or night—no appointment necessary, no waiting list, no charge, no time limit?
  • Do you postpone, procrastinate, and piddle when it comes to the privilege of communion? 
  • Are you double-minded—is your allegiance divided between this world and your eternal home?
  • Are you drawn in two different directions, with half your heart valuing what the world values and half what God values?
  • In what ways are you serving God’s interests? In what ways are you serving your own interests?
  • Are you grateful that a Holy God who could stand afar draws near to you when you come to Him? If so, have you told him how thankful you are? 

 

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One Response to “Drawing Near: Treasuring Communion (Part 1)”

  1. Lywanda says:

    Good morning. Confirmation! Amen! Blessings to you!

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