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THE BLESSINGS AND HURDLES OF DRAWING CLOSER TO GOD

We have many encouraging scriptures about God’s blessings, protection and love for those who delight in worshipping Him and seeking Him. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. The passage reminds me of my son struggling to fix his toy and calling out to me, “Daddy, can you help?”. As I respond and walk towards him, he usually makes his way towards me. When we take a step closer to God through prayer, worship or reading His Word, God by His Spirit draws closer to us. Where God is, His fullness, grace and mercy are also available. His presence changes circumstances and situations, even changing our perception and the way we feel. “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” Psalm 16:11.

On the other hand, there are also times when we draw closer to God and it seems like our troubles and temptations intensify. How is that possible? Things are meant to be better, not worse. Well, Jesus went through exactly the same experience before His ministry started. After He was baptised, He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days and nights. The aim of his fasting was not to get into physical shape, but rather to draw closer to His Father prior to starting his ministry. It was in this period of intense intimacy with the Father that the devil came to tempt Him.

When we look at the success of Jesus’s life and ministry (the healings, deliverances, atoning death and resurrection etc.) after his fasting and temptation, we can then understand why the devil wanted to distract Him by tempting Him to abandon the mission. Similarly, when you draw closer to God and the fire of troubles intensify, don’t get distracted or discouraged, because the enemy knows the victory and blessings that awaits you if you persist in His presence.

Be encouraged!

Blessings,

Chris Eke

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