"Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you" (James 4:8).
How overwhelmingly glorious it is that our holy, transcendent, all-powerful Creator warmly invites us to draw near to Him, and that in turn, He will draw near to us! Approaching God should never be half-hearted or superficial however. He desires a pure heart, not just lip service. "Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me" (Isaiah 29:13).
God makes it clear that drawing near to Him is not appearing pious before men, rather it is, "doing the will of God from the heart" (Ephesians 6:6). Paul expressed his thankfulness to God in his letter to the Roman church when he wrote, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that . . . which was delivered you" (Romans 6:17).
In practical terms, we must realize that repentance from sin, obedience, and seeking after God's righteousness must precede our drawing near to Him. "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (II Timothy 2:22). Jesus said, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love" (John 15:10).
Without God, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore, let us repent of our sins, turn to God and humbly cry out David's prayer, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). It is when God cleanses our hearts that we can truly enjoy the blessing of drawing near to Him and discover that "He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). MDR