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Closer or Further Away.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. (Colossians 3:23-25)

We live in a world that does desire closeness. Consider for a minute the emphasis near every bit of our art, music, and entertainment puts on relationships. It is almost as if we were wired for relationships. With said relationships, however, also comes the tearing apart of those relationships. Divorce, breakups, family splits, church splits, it's more common than we would like to admit, and it is ever present. It's a sure and constant reminder that we're either moving closer or further away from one another. Our desire for relationships echoes the consideration of the Father in Genesis: "It is not good for man to be alone (2:28)." We are hardwired for relationship, and in every relationship we have, we're either moving closer, or further away from one another. And relationships don't crumble in a day, nor are they built in a moment: it is one choice after another setting us on a course that will either draw us together, or tear us apart. The same can be said for God. Every decision we make decides one thing for us: "am I becoming more like Christ, or am I moving further away from who He desires me to become? Am I drawing nearer, or moving further away?" There is no such thing as staying put, just as there's no way to truly stand still in the ocean, or a river: the water is constantly moving, and it either moves away from us, or we move along with it. Our relationships are vital. Jesus broke down all of the Law and Prophets in to two commands: "Love the Lord with everything you are (my paraphrase) and love your neighbor as yourself." The litmus test for all disciples is how we love one another. So, I hope you can now see, we're either moving closer or further away from the Father with every thought, action, movement, or word. Consider carefully each choice you make, as it may move you further away from the One who can save you! Believer, draw near. Get close, bend every action, word, and thought to the Father, and watch how close he is! It is His will that we should seek, and so to live within it. Seek Him in His word, through prayer, and in your actions. Watch how close you become to Him.

 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4

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