7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
History and Context:
The epistle of James over history, has been one of the most controversial books in the Bible. Martin Luther, who led the reformation against the Catholic church, wanted to throw the book out. He had a strong revelation of salvation "by grace trhough faith and not by works", and he felt that James taught salvation by works. But to understand why James is not contradicting, but supporting Paul, one must understand the audience to which they wrote. When reading James you can understand that James wrote to a group of people who felt they could do anything they wanted because of grace. They said that because they had faith they didn't need works. James response was that the true faith will affect the works. This is why he writes, "show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by my deeds." James 2:18
James covers a lot of ground here in a short time, but I want to focus on verse eight today. If we draw near to God than Go will draw near to us. This is an amazing verse which shows us that God is simply waiting for us to take the first step. Once we take a step towards Him than He will follow up by coming towards us. He doesn't expect us to go the entire way on our own, but He expects us to show through our actions that we do want to be close to Him. He then clarifies that taking a step towards God means to take a step away from sin. This is why James immediately follows up with a command for the sinners to wash their hand and to purify their hearts. This is how we step towards God, by stepping away from sin. Again God does not expect us to do it completely on our own, but He wants us to make the first step. He is waiting for us to move so that He can finish the job.
Take that step today. Whether you've taken a step towards Him in the past or whether you've never even made a decision to become a Christian, today is the day! The Father is waiting. He is waiting for you to show Him that you want to be with Him. He is waiting for you to take a step towards Him so that He can draw near to you. Take a step towards God today!
Lord, draw me near to you! I choose to leave this sin behind and to step towards you. Thank you for your promise to come towards me when I take a step towards you. I choose to follow you Lord, I love you. In Jesus' name, Amen!