When I first decided to follow Jesus and began reading the Bible, one of the first verses I fell in love with was James 4:8. It soon became my favorite and I refer to it often – both for myself and for others.

James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (NIV) Another Bible translation says, “Move your heart closer and closer to God, and He will come even closer to you.” (TPT)

In all honesty, I wondered, years later, if I loved this verse because it was short and easy to memorize. I realized, over time, that it also truly spoke to my heart…and still does. I love how clearly and simply it says:

  1. I can get closer and closer to God.
  2. He can and will get closer to me.

What it also tells me is:

  1. He wants to have a close relationship with me.
  2. It begins with me. When I take a step toward Him, He is there to meet me. Therefore, my degree of closeness with God is only dependent on how much I’m willing to invest in the relationship.

How close do I want to be to God? What is my motive for that closeness? Am I willing to put in the time to grow my relationship with Him? How do I do that?

Here’s what I’ve learned. When you begin a real relationship with Jesus and choose Him as your Savior, there is a heart transformation. You develop a love for Him and a desire to please Him and His Father, God. The process of becoming more like Jesus begins.

The motive for getting closer to God comes from a deep love of Him and an eagerness to please Him and to become more like Jesus. It is not “what can I get out of it?” (i.e. blessings)

It comes down to living life, day to day, in a way that honors and worships Him. Worship is not just singing praise songs on Sundays; it is honoring Him with everything you think, say and do. It is living a life completely surrendered to Him, His Word (the Bible), and His guidance.

There are many ways to draw closer to God and the following list is not inclusive.

  • Prayer – just talk to Him…anytime, anywhere. It can be a sentence or two or a chunk of time you set aside to share your life. He is always waiting, wanting and available to listen.
  • Spend time in His Presence – This can be done with prayer but it is a focused time to be quiet before God and listen for what He wants to say to you.
  • Reading the Bible – These are God’s words. Want to know more about the God you serve? Learn about Him throughout the Old and New Testaments. Look for His character, His heart, His plans for us in every verse you read. Get in the habit of reading the Bible and then asking yourself, ‘What does this show me about God?’
  • Praise Him in song – Turn on some worship music or simply sing a capella to the Lord. Don’t remember the words? Sing your own song to Him.
  • Be grateful – Make a daily habit of praying or journaling all of the things you are thankful for. The Bible tells us, “Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father Who made all the lights in the sky.” (James 1:17 ERV)
  • Connect with other Christ followers – Attend church regularly or jump into a small group. When you surround yourself with others and study and pray together, you are drawing closer to God.
  • Love and serve His children – That means all of them; even the ones you would like to avoid. We are all His sons and daughters and He loves us equally. He even loves those who do not love Him back. After all, didn’t He love us before we loved Him? “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Serve others whenever and however you can. This pleases the Lord and brings us closer to Him.

 Yes, that’s a lot! Start small. If you want to draw closer to God, and have Him draw closer to you, begin with just one thing. Then start listening for His voice in your life; start feeling His Presence around you more and more each day. It’s a beautiful way to live!

 “It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards people who try to find Him.” (Hebrews 11:6 CEB)


Sylvia Gaston is Connections Pastor at Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. She can be reached at sylvia@kchanford.com or 559-582-1528.