Washing Hands and Coming Near – The YouTruth in James 4:8

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinner(s), and purify your heart(s), you double-minded.” (parentheses added)

This verse starts out nice and sweet, reflecting the yearning of God to be near to you. But then, “Bam!” some not so nice stuff—accusations and a not-so-flattering assessment of your character.

This chapter in James is dealing with strife among the believers of Jesus. It was caused by fights and quarrels motivated by coveting what others have. All of this, James said, created, within the community of believers, enemies of God! James was painting a harsh picture. And then comes the verse above.

As a believer, you have to face the reality that you are, in your nature, a double-minded sinner. If it were not so, Jesus would not have had to come to earth and die on the cross for you. Now, Satan would have you believe that your sinful state is an irrevocable, hopeless situation. He loves to accuse and condemn (even though God has given Him no authority to do so). Flee from Satan’s message! Instead hear the loving message from God in this verse.

God wants you near. He longs to be in close fellowship with you all day, every day. The harsh stuff is in no way to intended to condemn or depress you. It is intended to provide His directions for drawing up close to Him. And as a bonus, He has given you the power to do the necessary work in His Holy Spirit. Think about this: do you think that His Spirit, which had the power to lift Jesus out of the grave alive, can wash your hands and purify your heart of those things that keep you distant from Him? I do!

So, do some prayerful self-reflection today. Ask the Holy Spirit for His hand-washing, heart-purifying help, and look forward to a wonderful day drawn near to God. (And repeat this often!)

You Should Ask God (Really, You Should!)

James 1-5 imageThe YouTruth in James 1:5-6

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

Do you ever need help sorting out a situation or a relationship? We all do. God has a great idea when you encounter these issues. Ask Him for wisdom. But there is another vital part of the equation that we are not to overlook. So God has another great idea. Listen. Today’s passage helps us understand both parts.
First we can know that our problem is never too petty for God. God will never scold us for asking Him questions because, “You should already know that.” Our passage tells us that God gives wisdom generously without finding fault. So, never hesitate. Ask God. Always ask God.

Hearing God is as important to receiving the wisdom as asking. James reveals in his passage, that belief is the key that opens the ears of our heart to hear what God has to say to us. Without it, we will ask, but we won’t receive! Think about it. If we ask God for wisdom but don’t believe He really holds the answer, we’re just going through motions. This is when doubt creeps in. Doubt is a noisy thing in our heart. With all of the noise of doubt clanging in our heart, we won’t be able to hear God’s sweet voice of wisdom. This is why believing is so important. It keeps doubt out and keeps your heart quiet while God speaks to you.

Need some wisdom today? (Answer, yes.) Go to God believing and He will give generously.