Come Near Me :: by John Lysaught

“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God” (Hebrews 7:19).

I need you Jesus. I need you to carry and stay near me. My life is in shambles. Sin is my middle name. I have no hope, no future, nothing.  I feel as though I’m sinking in a mire of mud trying to pull myself out with a weak vine hanging over my head. I’m holding on with fingertips, about to let go. I’m holding on with all my strength, but my strength is not enough.

I’ve realized I’ve neglected you in my life. By doing so, I have been slowly sinking into this mire of sinfulness. I’ve let you go from me. I’ve chosen the world over you. You used to be at the front of the line of my life, but I have placed you afar in the line of priorities, actually taking you out completely.

I don’t know how this happened but it did, ever so slowly as I look back.  It was small things, sins that I committed but didn’t ask for forgiveness for. Then the little things grew and grew into bigger things in my life.  I know that sin is sin, regardless of what I do. Yet, my life in the world made me think my sins were so reprehensible that I could never be accepted by you again.

The shame I’ve felt is unbearable. I know what I do is wrong but I can’t stop. I can’t get off this sinking ship, I’m shackled to it and it is going down fast.  I feel so bad and worthless to you Jesus. How could you love someone like me? How could I matter?

So here I am, two fingers holding on to the vine of life, while Satan almost has me completely enveloped in the mire of his world.  I need you Jesus. I need you to come near me now. I need You to throw me a safety line, to help pull me out of this pit of darkness I’m almost completely swallowed up by. Help me! Help me Jesus!

Are you at this point in your life? I’ve been here before. I know that there are people who fight this battle everyday, some succeed with Christ and unfortunately some lose this battle and are lost souls, destined to hell because they couldn’t say three words: “Help me Jesus.” Maybe it was pride, stubbornness, shame, whatever you can imagine, but it wasn’t said.

Have you lost your love of Christ in your life? Is He no longer a priority to you? Set on the back burner that doesn’t work anyway and is never used for cooking?  Have you pushed Him away and He is no longer near you?

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).

People, all you have to do is open the door. The real question is how many times have you cracked the door just a bit? Or maybe you had it opened before but never invited Jesus in.  Maybe, just maybe, you had Jesus in there, were eating with Him and then asked Him to leave after a while.

Can’t imagine asking Jesus to leave? It happens. People do this. You know them, we are them.  We don’t call it what it is. We have softer terms such as “backsliding” or “falling away” and such.  The truth of the matter is that in our lives we have answered the door of our heart, invited Him in, ate with Him for some period of time and then asked Him to exit. Might as well say we told Jesus to, “Get OUT!” I mean, that’s what happened, truth be told.

We’ve all shut the door on Jesus, or asked Him to leave at some point(s) in our walk with Him.  Don’t deny it people. Embrace it. Embrace the truth so you can put it behind you and get back on that train of salvation choo-choo’n in front of you right now.

You know what really gets my goat? It’s how sad and bad people feel for themselves when they shoved Jesus out the door.  They make it sound like it wasn’t their fault:                 “I didn’t mean to cheat on my wife six times, it just happened.”

Come on, really? I’m exaggerating but I have heard: “It just happened.” It just happened that you had lust for another. It just happened that you “happened” to meet at a hotel room and the dirty deed just “happened.” Nope-no planning involved there. Not pre-decisions made. All coincidence. I mean, I believe it was coincidental, don’t you? (Catch the sarcasm?)

My favorite is this one: “I didn’t mean to do it. It wasn’t my fault.” Yeah, right. All this “not my fault” stuff is bull.  When you sin is when you grab Jesus by the arm and lead him to the door and hit Him in His back with the door while slamming it shut. Any chords being hit with you?

Rarely do I, and maybe you too, have heard someone take responsibility for their sins. There’s always an excuse of why they did what they did. Ultimately though, committing sin is our choice. It is our choice to commit sin. Sin is something we chose to do.

Get it?

“Tommy dragged me to the party.” Really? Did he really grab you and drag you into the party, put a glass in your hand with liquid libations, bend your elbow and make you chug that glass down?

Doubt it.

The Holy Spirit told you not to go, but you choose to go and commit sin. Regret came in the morning though and you wish you never did it, but you did. At church you stand smiley faced shaking hands with others, acting like the angel you are (yeah right). You rationalize your sins in you mind of why they were not your fault and blame circumstance or others for your misdeeds and feel better about yourself.

Come on people. We don’t have to pretend to be perfect because we aren’t. We are sinful beings that are saved only by grace. Romans 3:23 says:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

There you go. So stop pretending to be what you are not: perfect. We all fall short. We all miss the mark. We all stumble because of sin.

What we need to do to address this is to have Jesus near to us and to carry us through this life we live with the ups and downs we face daily. Remember that we do have an adversary. His name is Satan and he rules the world in which we live. When we stumble, he wants to take advantage of us and take us down like a bully in a fight.

Satan wants you just as much as Jesus wants you. Satan, though is not around to save your soul. He wants to take you with him to damnation. Surely you know this and yet we still get caught up in sin. We always will but we have something offered freely to us from Christ: Grace.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

What’s Grace? It is basically God’s unmerited favor. What is faith? It’s of things hoped for with evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Grace is that which gives us the opportunity to be with Christ in heaven. Nobody knows your heart better than God. You can’t fake your true heart to Christ. He knows what’s in your heart: Love, hate, pride, commitment, caring, etc. Satan just wants to keep it away from loving Jesus so you won’t have a relationship with Christ.

The battle is within each of us with Satan. To fight and continue to win this battle we must keep Christ near to us. We need to have Him with us in the good and especially the bad times we face. These big challenges are what really test’s your strength in Christ. They show what you are made of: thoughts of salvation or weak commitment.

As we grow in our Christian walk with Christ, we can easily overcome sins and challenges that are thrown our way. It becomes second nature.  It’s the big challenges that test our faith and stretch our grace.  I’m not talking about a challenge like writing a master’s thesis paper. I’m talking about the moral challenge with you, Satan, and God.

The challenge is going to be one of your weaknesses. How you respond to that weakness will show you where your faith really is; with Christ or in the mire of mud with only a small vine to hold on to.  I’m not going to give examples of weaknesses because I know each of you is thinking of them right now, as I am.

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Keep God near you when you face challenges and face the evil one.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says that God will go with you and will not fail you. You should feel some assurance from this, that no matter what, God is with you through your trials and tribulations. Keeping Him near to you ensure that He does go with you and will not fail you. You are assured of victory. Don’t be scared of challenges — or that sin you are facing with temptation. Have the courage to stand tall knowing that God has your back.

By keeping Christ near you, you will be strong and will have the courage to overcome sin and Satan’s attacks. Satan can’t stand-up to the faith and confidence we have in Christ. He will look for weaknesses in your life to take advantage of you. Yet when he does this and Christ is near you, those weak spots are shored up and Satan can no longer take a pickax to that spot in your life anymore.

Keep Christ near to you. Know that you will give into temptation at times, but less and less as your walk with Christ grows. Keep Christ near to you because He loves you and only wants your heart to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Keep Christ near to you when you face challenges and temptations: Hold tight to Him as you go through trials in life and never ever let go of Him.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).