Thursday, October 13, 2016
I was reading in the book of James this morning and this verse caught my particular attention: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8) At first glance, this verse seems to be too blunt and too frank for our liking. What Christian likes to be called a “sinner” or a double- minded person? Well if we read the rest of the chapter, we can easily see that James was addressing those in the church who were not totally committed to God, that still had a lot of the world’s influence in their lives. That’s the particular sin this verse refers to, the sin of straying from God. That’s also the reason the verse begins with the plea to draw near to Him.
Double-mindedness also refers to hypocrisy and though you may not agree with me, I think we all have a little bit of it in our hearts. It is hypocrisy if we confess one thing but deep down inside we deny it. Here’s one related word we hear mentioned often during the political campaigns: transparency. The M-W Dictionary defines it as: “something transparent; especially a picture (as on film) viewed by light shining through it or by projection.” As it pertains to political candidates, people want them to be transparent, meaning that they should be totally honest, that they are who and what they claim to be.
Nevertheless, the main message in this verse remains the same. Many years ago, a popular slogan on the bumper sticker on the vehicles of many Christians said this: “If you feel far from God, guess who moved?” This obviously meant that God is in the place where He’s always been, that it is His people who stray from time to time. People can stray from Him when they are not totally committed to Him or when they are angry, bitter, disillusioned or feel abandoned and forgotten, or many other things. The bottom line is this: Whenever we stray from Him, regardless of the reason, we are the ones who lose. This declaration of Simon Peter comes to mind: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68) If that is you, and you don’t feel as close to Him as you did before, come back to Him today.
God’s promise for today: (Psalm 34:4) “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”