Friday, February 2, 2024

Closeness with God

Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite because he wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. (Joshua 14:14 NLT)

One of the reasons this world still appeals to many of us, one of the reasons the offerings of this world system still tantalize many of us, is that we’re lacking closeness with God.

However, if we can get our priorities right, we can see the world for what it is.

That is what Caleb did. The Bible said that he “wholeheartedly followed the Lord, the God of Israel” (Joshua 14:14 NLT).

The key to wholeheartedly following the Lord is maintaining a love relationship with Jesus Christ. When you do, this world will lose its appeal. Caleb was looking forward. He wanted fellowship, intimacy, and closeness with God. And that sustained him through the most difficult times.

In contrast, it was a lack of fellowship, a lack of closeness with God, that caused the other Israelites in the wilderness to turn to idolatry, immorality, complaining, and ultimately testing God.

When you are in love with Jesus Christ, you will see Him for who He is. And as a result, you will see this world for what it is. It’s like the hymn that says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

On the other hand, when you’re only giving God your bare minimum, when your love for Jesus is not burning brightly, then this world and its temporary pleasures will look more and more appealing.

To fully follow the Lord means that you will not compromise. You will stand your ground, wanting the approval of God more than the approval of others. It also means that you will take God at His word and stand on it. And you’ll desire fellowship and communion with God, which will give you the strength to carry on.

Finish well. We don’t know how much time we have left—both as His church on this earth and as individuals before the Lord. God is able to complete whatever we have committed to Him. 

Let’s learn from the examples of those who did not finish well—people like Saul, Samson, and Gideon. And let’s also learn from the examples of those who did finish well—people like Caleb, Joseph, Peter, and Paul, who fully followed the Lord.

We find the key to finishing well in Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (NLT).

May we all finish well. May we not be casualties in the spiritual race.

If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will make it. So run the race for Him. This is where we started, and this is where we must end.

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