“It is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge." Psalm 73:28
Getting away from God
My conversation with the man at the restaurant took a predictable course. For almost an hour we talked about politics, family, and work. I knew that it was only a matter of time before the expected question would come, followed by the inevitable comment. After talking about his line of work, he asked me "so, what do you do?" After telling him I was a pastor, he responded by saying , "yeah, I've kind of gotten away from God lately".
I understand that comment and have great sympathy for those who make it. Christians must take such opportunities to gently and lovingly present God's truth and call such individuals back into Christ's fold. However, I am also aware that within that sincere comment resides a subtle dishonesty of the Deceiver. Satan loves it when we minimize our situation. Instead of admitting open rebellion, we prefer to merely think of it as 'getting away from God'.
The stark reality, however, is that the further we are from God the closer we are to Hell. We don't get to New York by traveling West to California, nor can we legitimately claim to have "gotten a little away from New York" when we are speeding towards the California state line. Heaven and Hell lie in opposite directions.
Yet no matter how far we are from God the great promise of Scripture is that if we draw near to God He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Christ came to save us from the lowest depths and no one is beyond hope. When I have conversations similar to the one above I boldly share this wonderful promise--although as I do I also refuse to spiritually 'pat' this person on the back. Too often well meaning Christians say "oh don't worry, your just backslidden. " I think Scripture prefers they realize just how close to Hell they really are--and just how far Christ was willing to reach to rescue them.
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