Draw Near to God

Hungering for God's presence in worship.
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But Jesus came and tore the veil so that we can get close to God. Now, when Father God looks at us, He looks at us through the blood of His Son, Jesus. Why wouldn't we want to know the height and depth and width of the One who came to redeem us? Why wouldn't we want to walk with Him and share our hearts' concerns? Why wouldn't we want to live to please the One who sought to restore our broken relationship?

But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith. [My goal] is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead. (Phil. 3:7-11, emphasis added)

Paul is talking about a relationship here. This isn't "knowing" about the facts and figures of Jesus' life. Paul is pouring out his heart. Paul is hungering for God's presence. Like Moses, he wants to know the Lord in a personal and experiential way. He wants his personal fellowship with Jesus to be more intimate, nearer still, even beyond what he had known up to that moment.

To really know Jesus personally and to understand His nature. His character, and His ways will require us to draw near to Him. We draw near by listening to His Word, following the leading of His Holy Spirit, responding positively to His dealings with us when it comes to spiritual matters, as well as carrying on the cause of His great gospel. If I want to know the power of His resurrection, then I must experience the renewal of my own life by being born again, and be set free from the bondage of sin. I must yield to the power of the Holy Spirit in order that I might be an effective witness for Christ Jesus. As a result, I will have a physical resurrection, when this mortal body will put on immortality and I will live with the Lord forever and ever.

"My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." If I am to know Jesus and be a follower of Jesus, I must embrace His sufferings and His death. How? By daily picking up my personal cross and following Him. "Summoning the crowd along with his disciples. He said to them, 'If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it'" (Mark 8:34-35).

We need that cross to kill our impure ways, our bad attitudes, our wrong motives, our ungodly thoughts, and so we can daily remember the price that Jesus paid for our sins. We need that cross because something inside of us must die. Only God can resurrect us into a new life. We only need to wait and know that He is God.

From Worship 365: The Power of a Worshipping Life by David M. Edwards (Broadman & Holman, 2006)

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