He draws us near!
I was in a Bible study a few weeks ago and a discussion ensued on our willingness and ability to respond to God, and God’s choice to draw us near. I made a comment that went as thus: “God calls/pulls us to him, and we should be thankful for that pulling. It is not our works, although we must accept that calling; He calls whom He wills.” The following are points to buttress that statement.
In John 6:44 NKJV, we read that Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Also, 2 Tim 1:9 says, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” The last passage to share is Matthew 22:14: “For many are called but few are chosen.”
The grace for us to respond to God’s calling has always been there since Christ died for us. The “call” has always been there, but the “chosen” part is what I referred to earlier. If one agrees that we are saved by grace and must accept the call, then this point must be emphasized: for as many as receive knowledge of the kingdom of God, gaining the insight and understanding to materialize the importance of that calling is not by chance; it is given by God. Even as sinners, there are ways God speaks to us to convict us, to turn our ears to listen. Why is it that many people repeatedly go to church yet struggle with sin, or that children of pastors who can recite the Bible with ease lack the presence of the Holy Spirit? The point here is that knowledge alone isn't sufficient. The ultimate ingredient is the Power of God working in man, softening our hearts to listen to the conviction. The power may come in different dimensions, but it is that power that enables our ears to listen/understand the Gospel.
The Gospel, we are told, is “foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). When our hearts are softened, we then become convicted, seek God wholeheartedly and connect with Him. My prayer is that when God chooses to convict us further to a higher realm with Him, that our minds be willing and that we connect to that calling for more. There’s no better place to be than in His presence (Psalm 16:11). More of Him is what we need (Isaiah 26:9). Seek him diligently (1 Chronicles 6:11).