James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” When we cultivate a closer relationship with God, we experience his power and presence more and more.
Consider the example of Mary. In her famous song of praise in Luke 1:46-55, she shows how she is close to God in at least four ways:
1. She believes in the personal God of the Bible (verses 48-9), not some distant deity who isn’t really involved or concerned with daily life.
2. She knows the Scriptures (verse 55). How else would she know what God had “promised our ancestors”?
3. She has faith, even when it’s risky. She had a controversial pregnancy, which could have threatened her life and the well-being of her family. Her life in a broader sense was far from easy. And then she watched the torture and cruel crucifixion of her son. Through it all, she was faithful.
4. She is humble (verses 48, 52). Her posture is one of simple servant-hood where loyalty to God is foremost.
These qualities helped Mary to be close to God, and to have courage as a result.
So, do you want to draw near to God? If so, maybe you can learn from Mary. Look at the following list, and honestly ask yourself which you need to work on:
-Believing in the personal God of the Bible (instead of some distant deity).
-Knowing the Scriptures (instead of just guessing at what God’s will is).
-Having faith, even when it’s risky (instead of always staying in the comfort zone).
-Being humble (instead of being selfish and just living for you).
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
By Matthew Ruttan
–Today’s “Up!” is based on my Christmas Eve sermon called “The courage equation.” You can watch the 20-minute message on YouTube here.
–Here’s a video I made of a young girl narrating Mary’s song of praise from Luke 1:46-55. Click here to watch and listen.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.