Closer to God?
Today, I taught 2 Bible studies about the life of David. Specifically, the lesson was on the sins of David – particularly his affair with Bathsheeba and other sins he committed during his later life. Usually, in David’s life, as well as our own lives, sin is the result of seeing something, desiring something and ultimately taking something that is inconsistent with a God centered life. This is the same pattern that Eve and Adam followed in the Garden of Eden. They saw the fruit, desired the fruit and eventually took the fruit. Of course, this was the fall of man that we are still paying for today.
Today, as New Testament believers, our sins are forgiven. God sent His Son to the cross to pay for the sins of the world – past, present and future. Now that doesn’t mean that we will never have another misstep in our lives. We’re not perfect and this side of heaven, we won’t be. So when we have these lapses in judgment, it is still important that we confess our sins to God and ask for His forgiveness. Hopefully, that confession and resultant forgiveness lead to repentant behavior and we will be drawn closer to God in the process. Make no mistake, there is no question that we are forgiven – the Bible makes that quite clear. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t also confess our sins and seek closeness with God.
During this time of the year, I try to take stock of how I am doing in my walk with God relative to where I was last year at this time. After all, if I am being successful in my Christian life, then I should be growing closer to God each year. In other words, as I mature in my faith, I should become more like Jesus and that means that my sins should diminish.
Theologically, we call this journey progressive sanctification. Our journey of sanctification begins when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Then, as we mature in our faith, we progress in our lives toward a more Christ-like demeanor. Finally, upon physical death, we arrive in heaven in what we refer to as perfect sanctification. If we’re doing it right, we move closer to God each year of our lives.
Now I would be telling you a lie if I told you that I have grown closer to God each year. In all honesty, there have been a number of years when I feel that I slid backward – not moved forward. I might not notice it day to day, or week to week, or maybe even month to month, but that is why I take stock of myself each year. It gives me a better perspective to look inward and determine how I have been doing in my faith walk since last Christmas.
This annual review doesn’t have to be during the holidays, but for me, it works the best. And I would strongly encourage you spend a little time this season and review your own faith life during the last 12 months. If you find that your journey toward sanctification is moving along the right path, that’s terrific. But if you need a course correction and a way to find your back to a stronger relationship with the Father and His Son, I would advise you to ask God for help. And not just a prayer asking for strength, but a prayer asking God to make us more like His Son.
The verse this evening is from the book of Acts. Paul was getting ready to leave on a ship for new destinations. He had been warned by the Holy Spirit that prison and adversity faced him at every port. He commended his charges to God. In Acts 20:32, he said, “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
My encouragement this evening is to let you know that God wants you to become more like His Son. And Jesus Himself is there to assist you in your journey. My prayer tonight is that you will grow closer to God throughout the days and years of your life. And if, for some reason, you aren’t as close to God as you were last year, I pray that God will grant you the wisdom to seek His face and renew your journey toward sanctification. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…