Keep God Close To You
We must learn to let God be in control of our life.
Psalm 73:28 "But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works".

Do we really, really have the confidence to utter such words today?
Am I as near to God as I should be?
We all need to be able to answer this simple question in the affirmative.
Here is the key:
We cannot keep God close to us unless we are working to keep close to God.
Often times, we read or hear of people confidently asserting that they are in control of their own life.
Most people claim that they are, but in reality they are not in control.
There are many factors to determine if you are in control or someone else.
Some might say that they are in control of other lives; In some respects, that is very true.
We are responsible for our own actions and thoughts.
We are accountable to God for the rules He has given us to live by.
If we care about our soul, we will learn those rules and abide by them.
If we do not care about our soul, we will do what we want.
Sometimes we voluntarily allow others to control our lives.
Perhaps we have others control our lives because of something we did.
Sometimes we have no choice in the matter.
Yet we learn quickly that we either comply with the rules or we get punished.

When you agree to work for a business, you are going to allow the boss or supervisor to direct your actions and what you do.
You will also learn that if you refuse to follow the orders or commands, you could lose your job.
Then you will seek employment elsewhere where the same scenario will be in place.
Either follow the rules, guidelines or instructions; or lose your job.
This we learn in the home from a young age.
Our parents are charged with the responsibility to train up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
They train us and if we do not comply, we might get punished.
Sadly, many parents today do not train their children in the ways of the Lord, and our society demonstrates such.
A lot of people have attitude and anger and intolerance issues.
For these, they allow others to get under their skin and irritate them so much that they might actually hurt someone else.
Road rage is a term that has developed in the last 20 or so years.
You look at someone, and they might pound you or shoot you.

It is our fear of these people that we have given them control over our lives because we live in fear.
Now, as Christians, we view control differently than the world does.
We are spiritually minded and realize that our God must be in control of our lives.
God has always been upset with people who would not follow the direction He has set for them.
We have a book full of examples of people who would not listen to God or be controlled by God.
It is called the Bible.
But looking back upon our text:
Why would we not want to be near to God?

We have several quotations in scripture that we are to "draw near to God".
Hebrews 10:22, we are to "draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith..."
James 4:8 tells us to "draw near to God, and He will draw nigh unto you..."
There are several Psalms that speak of the nearness of God, and the blessings of being in the presence of God.
We must realize that "He is in our midst" every time we come together as a church, and He is near wherever we are.
God’s commands are near and not far off (Deuteronomy 30:11).
If we will seek FIRST God and His righteousness (commandments), God will take care of us (Matthew 6:33).
No one can escape from God (Psalm 139).
And why would we not want God near?
Well, one obvious reason is because He would see our sins as we commit them.
That is why John speaks of men loving the darkness so they could do their evil deeds in stealth, (John 3:19-20) but all are just fooling themselves to think that God does not see them.

If God is to be our refuge, it is wise to keep Him near us.
If your refuge, castle, security blanket is not in the immediate vicinity, what good is it?
With God near to us, we are reminded of the necessity to be on our best behavior.
It is usually when we forget God is near that we become naughty and do things we should not do.
We also need to keep God in our minds and remember His strength to protect our souls.
God may choose not to stop a speeding bullet, but He will stop Satan from taking your soul.
As long as we are near to God, we are under His protection.

With God near us, we feel obligated to make Him proud of us, and we hope He pays attention (which He does) and offers us a final eternal reward.
Think of all the words used to describe the attributes of God and what He does for us.
Just some of the words are: Stronghold: Fortress; Shield; Deliverer; Rock; A very present help in time of trouble; Redeemer; Refuge; Strength; and Salvation.
And yes, there are many more descriptions of God that speak of His care and protection.
Who would not want to be near a God like this?

Another thing we should consider:
With such confidence, and the joy that accompanies this feeling, why are we not telling others about it?
If we really feel blessed, and we really know that God wants us to share the message of salvation with others, why would we withhold such glad tidings from others?
We read many times in the scriptures that some people did not want to hear from God or from His prophets.
The main reason is because they dwelt in the stubbornness of their own heart.
In other words, they did exactly what they wanted to do, and they did not want to be controlled by God or anyone else.
We read several times in Scripture that the people were stubborn in the hearts and would not listen to God so as to be saved.
There is nothing new under the sun, and that attitude exists today in the hearts of many.
We may not persuade men or women to turn to the Lord, but we should be able to express our own faith.
We should have no problem telling our brethren what the Lord has done for us.
Psalm 22:22 “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee”.
Such should prepare us to tell our friends who are not Christians what the benefits are of serving the Lord God of heaven.

We should be looking towards our reward, and be willing to warn those who are lost of the eternal consequence of not serving God.
Sadly many in our society do not recognize even the existence of God, and those that do, choose not to honor Him as we read in Romans 1:21.
May we all have an appreciation of the presence of God; determine to keep Him near our hearts and minds; rely upon Him as a protector; and tell others about how great and awesome our God really is.

By Carey Scott

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