Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds. James 4:8 NABRE
James in his letter to Christians is challenging the reader to submit humbly to God. He begins this section with the previous verse which declares we should submit ourselves to God and resist the devil. James wants us to voluntarily become subject to God and to follow God’s commands. So James is asking that we return to a covenant relationship with God. God will not force us, we must freely choose. Then James instructs us to draw near to God. We must decide deep inside ourselves if we want to be near God, of course this will mean resisting the devil and giving up on things that diminish our interior life, like; jealousy, envy, disharmony, basically anything that would present itself as selfish behavior. If we choose to be close to God, then James tells us God will draw near to us. We can return to God in a number of ways. Our interior prayer life, our effort to create a pure heart and in worship where we can be part of a community that helps us be near to God.
James then instructs us to clean our hands, this is an act of purification, a priest cleans their hands in a ritual washing before performing any sacred duties, it is a way of exteriorly reminding ourselves to wash our hearts clean. James addresses the reader as a sinner, because of the nature in people to sin. He again exhorts us to purify our hearts. It is the heart that leads us to God or to sin, so we should always work toward a pure heart. If we are motivated by selflessness, to put others first and to honor God by loving others, we will be working toward a purification of our heart.
Do you choose to draw near God? Can you work towards a pure heart?It is the heart that leads us to God or to sin, so we should always work toward a pure heart. Being motivated by selflessness, putting others first and honoring God by loving others, we can obtain a pure heart. Click To Tweet
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