Near

Posted on April 6, 2018.
Near-graphic-medium

Dr. Doug Posey  
e*sermon

 

Drawing near to God should be our utmost desire in life. Of course, it’s not what seems to be the most popular pursuit when you look around. Picture that concept—desiring to draw near to God—and the kind of person, dedicated to that objective. Who comes to mind? You may envision a monk, cloistered away in an existence of self-denial and solitude. Or, maybe a dedicated seminary student; a pastoral ministry trainee. Certainly not your average person, pursuing the typical, popular cultural pursuits.

Since the Garden, the tendency for humanity has been the opposite of drawing near to God. Humankind hid from God then and has mostly been more comfortable with the concept that God isn’t watching than having Him scrutinize our behavior. When people seek to be near someone, they tend to prefer those of the more finite variety. In fact, they routinely go beyond simply “drawing near,” to worshipping, “…the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

These misguided investments of relationship capital don’t really hit home until the things that draw people away from God abandon them. Loneliness can be a cruel teacher. Being alone gets old, and even painful. It may take time and experience to realize that people will abandon us. Stuff will not satisfy. Health deteriorates. Finances aren’t the key. Careers evaporate. But, if we’ve invested in drawing near to the One Who said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), those other things can disappear and we still have a hope; a lifeline that sustains us.

It’s best to learn that lesson early in life. The sooner we realize that drawing near to God should be our utmost desire, the more balanced, confident and healthy our approach to living will be. We were meant to have fellowship with Him. It was God’s design.

John Ortberg, Pastor and author, shares a story about the security of knowing we have a Father Who is there:

A few weeks ago, when I was out surfing, there was no one else in the water except for a huge guy practicing martial arts on the beach. After I'd been out a little while, a tiny wisp of a kid came paddling up out of nowhere. I couldn't believe he was out there by himself. He pulled his little board right up next to mine. He was so small he hardly needed a board. He could have stood up in the ocean on a Frisbee. He told me his name was Shane. He asked me how long I'd been surfing. I asked him how long he'd been surfing.

"Seven years," he said. "How old are you?" I asked. "Eight."

Then he said, "What I like about surfing is that it's so peaceful. You meet a lot of nice people here."

We talked a while longer. Then I asked him, "How did you get here, Shane?"

"My dad brought me," he said. Then he turned around and waved at the nearly empty beach. The Goliath doing martial arts waved back.

"Hi, Son," he called out.

Then I knew why Shane was so at home in the ocean. It wasn't his size. It wasn't his skill. It was who was sitting on the beach. His father was always watching. And his father was very big. Shane wasn't really alone at all. Neither are we.

Adapted from John Ortberg, I'd Like You More If You Were More Like Me (Tyndale, 2017), pages 65-66

“Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them”
—HEBREWS 7:25