Drawing Close to God; February 20, 2018

Jeremiah 30:21 “‘Who is he who will devote himself
to be close to me?’
declares the Lord.”

This verse is talking about leaders, but to me this line is a challenge to every believer. Where the NIV says “devote himself,” the Japanese says, “bet his life.” That is the sort of attitude that says, “I’m going to draw close to God even if it kills me.” Another way to say it would be, “You can kill me if you like, but I’m going to draw close to God.” God honors that sort of attitude! Too much of the time we act as though God were incidental to our lives, rather than being the foundation and the reason for our existence. I forget who it was who said, “The world has not yet seen what God can do with someone who is totally devoted to Him.” If we are honest, we have to admit that our devotion tends to be on-again-off-again. That’s part of the human condition, but we need the foundational commitment to Jesus as Lord or the rest of life becomes largely meaningless.

I have certainly had ups and downs in the level of my commitment. There was a period of several years when we didn’t have regular prayer support for our ministry in Omura, and frankly, my focus went completely off. It was like the church was a hobby I had, rather than being the real reason I was here. The Lord used a stern word of correction through a brother in Christ, and then a temporary change of circumstances, to bring me back into focus. I am very grateful. I am very aware of my own weaknesses, and know that apart from the grace of God I am capable of being the most despicable of men. That’s one of many reasons I start each day before the Lord, seeking to hear Him through His Word and giving Him my thanks and praise. In a sense I suppose that is “betting my life,” because we measure life in terms of time, and it takes time to do this. These days the devil does all he can to keep us as busy as possible so that we won’t feel we can make time for God. He wants us to forget that our every moment is a gift from God! At this point in my life it is easier to remember that, because I’ve already outlived my father by more than five years. However, it’s true for every human being, and I need to help others realize it as well. We lose so much when we place God somewhere down the list of our priorities. I need to speak on this from the pulpit, but I also need to model it in daily living and walk alongside people in working it out in their lives.

Father, thank You for this message! Help me lay it out as You intend so that it will come through clearly, getting past and through all the barriers the enemy throws up, setting my hearers free from the lies of the enemy to live as Your intend, for their great blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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