“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8
Do you ever get stuck in sin? Psalm 40 describes a slimy pit, with mud and muck and mire…a pit that is inescapable on our own…a pit that we just slip and slide and fall around in until we wear ourselves out, filthy and exhausted from our efforts.
Our broken, human, sin-filled hearts gravitate toward death apart from Jesus. But we weren’t made for death; we were made for life! As followers of Christ, we have been redeemed, washed, sanctified, and pulled out of the miry muck and mud. And yet, in our humanity, our hearts wander. They do. It is a part of our struggle this side of heaven. But we aren’t left in our wandering. We aren’t left in our muddy, self-made pit to hopelessly exhaust ourselves. Like the father of the prodigal son, our Father stands ready to forgive, embrace, and love us back to life.
Our Father knew we would still wander and get muddy at times, so He graciously gave us an escape plan in James 4:
- Submit to God.
- Resist the devil, and he flees.
- Draw near to God, and He draws near to you.
- Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts.
- Weep over your sin, and humble yourself.
- Then He exalts you. He lifts up your head. He embraces you.
It’s simple, but it isn’t easy. Jesus trudged through the mud, remained clean, died on a cross, and rose again, so we wouldn't have to remain stuck in the mud. Jesus does the heavy lifting, the rescuing, and the exalting, but we do have to submit, draw near, and be humble. And we are often highly self-sufficient, idolatrous, and prideful, so our feet get stuck in the mud!
C.S. Lewis wrote, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
We weren't made for the mud, friends. Let's not make mud pies while paradise awaits. We were made for more.
See you Sunday!