“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8
Last week I returned to Samford and began my second semester of college. After being home for six weeks, I was excited to come back. I was excited to see my friends. I was excited to be independent and free once more. I was excited to get back to being busy and occupied. The busyness hit me this week like a train. I barely had time to breathe between class, work, Step Sing practice, and homework.
The six weeks I spent at home were long. They were also difficult. Boredom and me don’t mix well. I am an over-processor, an over-analyzer, so being bored leaves my mind running in circles. But I spent those six weeks really drawing near to God & He showed up. God did a lot of deep healing on my heart while I was home. It was a time of healing and renewal that I desperately needed. The Bible is absolutely true when it says if you draw near to God, He will draw near to you. It may not look like you want it to. I honestly would have loved to heal like I did during those six weeks months ago- years ago really. But God had a plan. He would draw me close in His timing. When I was ready. When I was ready to purge myself of, well, me, and give it all up and let Him in. That’s when God wants to draw close to you. When you’re all in.
Drawing close to God was the best thing that could have happened to me. I have peace deep within my soul after years and years of restlessness. But, y’all, life came along and knocked the breath out of me this week. Twice. The enemy tried to come along and do what he does best- steal, kill and destroy. Everything that I have worked for, my closeness with God and loved ones, could have been swept away in an instant if I had let it.
But I’m tired of the enemy winning battles in my life.
Guess what? The enemy was defeated 2000 years ago at calvary. But he’s good at making you believe that he has power over you. Newsflash- from the cross Jesus said “it is finished.” And our God has the final say.
You can choose to trust God. You can choose to blame God. You can choose to draw close to God. You can choose to push Him away. You can choose to resist the devil. You can choose to listen to his lies. You can choose to believe life isn’t fair, you’re all alone, your life sucks, you are ugly, you are inadequate, you will never amount to anything. Or you can choose to believe that God is on your side and He is working all things for good and you are more than a conqueror through Christ.
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore CHOOSE LIFE so that you and your offspring may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19.
I think we overcomplicate the simplicity of the gospel because it’s hard to believe that the gospel is true.
God just loves you.
I’ve missed out on this simple truth for a long time. I’ve tried to complicate it. I’ve tried to earn it. I’ve tried to be good enough for it. But God’s love isn’t dependent on me. It’s overflowing, overwhelming, and all powerful. It embodies me. It washes over me. It make me new. And it’s because of who God is- not who I am.
His sweet grace is available to you at any moment. He wants to draw near. He wants to offer truth and life and peace. But the question is- will you let Him? Will you choose Him?
After a lot of ups and downs and twists and turns, I’ve learned that life with Him is the fullest life you can possibly live. It’s an adventure. It’s trusting Him and looking back and seeing how He was working, preparing you for so much more. It’s loving deeply and fully without fear because you stand on something greater. It’s joy and peace and laughter. And when life comes to knock the breath out of you one more time, it’s standing back up and saying, “Not today.”
The life of a believer promises suffering, but it promises joy through the suffering. If you choose to rejoice. If you choose to trust God. If you choose life.
Trust me, I know life is busy. But make time for God. Give yourself and solid foundation to stand on. Immerse yourself in His goodness. That way even through the chaos and uncertainty of this world, you can stand unshakeable. Draw near to Him. Let Him draw near to you.