- Pastor Rolf Woodard
Day 2, January 8 - Draw Close to the Lord
Psalm 24:3-4: Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
Psalm 32:5: Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
How can I sincerely draw close to a God who is all powerful, all knowing, and fully aware of all the reasons I do not belong in His presence? Is it really safe? Is this really what God desires?
It is a common malady of this Christian life to face serious insecurities when considering approaching God. In my own life, I have experienced many dark seasons of feeling unworthy or uniquely disqualified from this privilege.
Why the struggle? Because I know me! I know my propensity to sin. I know my inability to give God the righteousness He deserves. If I were Him, I wouldn’t be pleased to have me come near.
Praise God. He knows we have these struggles. And, He has an answer.
First, my confidence in drawing near to God is not based on my performance. My confidence is in the performance of Jesus. Hebrews 4 instructs us to come to God with boldness based on our full confidence in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf.
And second, my confidence in drawing near to God is based on His love. I can trust His love for me. And strangely enough, the very things in my life that appear to disqualify me – sin, weakness, failure, flaws, etc. – provide convincing proof of God’s love. If someone says they love you, but are not familiar with your past failures or current weaknesses, you cannot be sure they really love you. But if they are fully aware of the good and the ‘ugly’ and love you anyway, you are truly loved. Praise God! He knows it all and loves us anyway.
My sin and weakness become my opportunity to really know He loves me. I can really trust His love for me.
Today we draw near to God. We do this by uncovering the ‘ugly’ side. We confess our sin. We reveal the part of our life that puts His love for us to the test (at least in our minds). And praise God again... He proves His love. He forgives and loves us anyway.
• It’s not until we recognize the depth of our sin that we realize the depth of God’s love. What sins have you minimized to ‘little mistakes’ versus acknowledging they are what nailed Jesus to the cross?
• According to Romans 2:4, what leads us to repentance?
Heavenly Father, reveal anything in my life that would hinder my ability to come into Your presence. Help me see my propensity towards sin and help me to change. Help me to see my sin the way You see it. Thank You for loving me in spite of my failures. Lord, it is your loving-kindness that leads me to repentance.