As I’ve have closed out another year and begin a NEW YEAR of 2023, I began seeking the Lord for a word/theme as I begin the New Year. The word that keeps coming to my heart, soul, and mind is the word, CLOSER!
I indeed want to grow closer in my earthly relationships (including my wife, children, grandchildren, family, and friends), but most importantly I want to get closer to God.
Now, one might not think we need a reason to understand why getting closer to God is crucial, but let’s just sum it up as follows: The further away you get from God, the more your life is troubled; but the closer you get to God, the more your life is transformed. The Bible says “All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” (Isaiah 53:6, NLT) In other words, like sheep, we tend to wander.
There’s a story in the Bible on how to get close to God and stay close to Him. It’s the story of the Prodigal Son, in Luke 15. From this story we learn three things we need to do to help us get close to God. This is the pathway to spiritual transformation that I need for the New Year!
1. You’ve Got To Get Fed Up - V. 17 “When he came to his senses” - Nothing is going to happen in your life until first you get dissatisfied with things as they are. If you think you’re just fine, then you can sit out the next four weeks because nothing’s going to happen until you recognize your need for change. You’ve got to get hungry. You’ve got to get anxious for a change. Nothing happens until you get fed up.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” - Matthew 5:6 (NIV)
Are you there yet? If not, just give it time. God will go to work to develop a holy dissatisfaction in you. Just know that when you get fed up, when you decide you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, that’s God knocking at your door and He wants you to be closer to Him!
2. You’ve Got To Own Up - v. 18 “I have sinned” - That’s the second thing that this young man did. And nothing is going to happen until you own up. A lot of people today are fed up; but they want to blame something or someone else for their dissatisfaction. So they look everywhere but to God to fulfill them. They blame others for their troubles. They blame God for their troubles. They look everywhere else but to themselves for someone or something to blame for their troubles. Notice how you spell blame: “b-lame.” It’s being lame when you blame other people or things for your spiritual condition.
We need to own up to the fact that many of our problems in life is that we’ve been going our own way rather than God’s way.
The problem with too many people is that they are not fed up. But once you’re sufficiently fed up, you will own up. You will say, “I’ve been going my way too long, I’ve got to turn to God.” When I do that, I’m on God’s way of being closer with Him.
3. You’ve Got To Offer Up - v. 19 “make me” - Whether we want to draw close to God for the first time or one returning to Him, we need to offer up our lives to Him. No transformation will happen until you offer up your life to God.
I desire to be CLOSER to God this coming year and I’d encourage you to consider doing the same. We must remember we can never manufacture a move of the Holy Spirit, but let us intentionally make room for the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts and lives as we draw CLOSER to Him!
How do I get close to God? Whether I need to come to Him or return to Him, the path is basically the same: I get fed up, I own up; and I offer up …. and if I want to remain with Him, I must STAY CLOSE TO HIM! Come Holy Spirit and move in our lives in a powerful way in 2023.