Draw Near to God…if you dare!

Jesus and his disciples went to the town of Capernaum. Then on the next Sabbath he went into the Jewish meeting place and started teaching. Everyone was amazed at his teaching. He taught with authority, and not like the teachers of the Law of Moses.

Suddenly a man with the evil spirit in him entered the meeting place and yelled, “Jesus from Nazareth, what do you want with us? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are! You are God’s Holy One.”

Jesus told the evil spirit, “Be quiet and come out of the man!” The spirit shook him. Then it gave a loud shout and left.

Everyone was completely surprised and kept saying to each other, “What is this? It must be some new kind of powerful teaching! Even the evil spirits obey him.” News about Jesus quickly spread all over Galilee. Mark 1: 21:29 (CEV)

The “Jewish meeting place” was the synagogue, the church. Jesus went there to teach many times. And look who also shows up! I have heard some say that only God is in church. Not so. The evil one can also show himself!

The evil one knows God. He recognizes the One who is so different from himself. Evil knows who is with God and who is apart from God. Evil also knows that he is going to be destroyed. He just doesn’t know when.

Jesus spoke with authority. He spoke the truth and the power of God. The evil one recognized and bowed to that. Will you? Hmmmm.

For decades we in the church have stressed and worried about offending people. Jesus does not seem to consider that when He speaks. His heart is pure in its purpose. He makes us uncomfortable. He makes us think. He is not focused on whether the pews that the people sit on in the synagogue is to their liking. He does not consider if they are happy with what He says and it fits their personal theology. He says what the Father wants Him to say to be true and teach us and direct us in His path. He is focused on our spiritual health and our eternal life.

We must stop our short-sighted, self-absorbed thinking and open ourselves to the discipline of God that will strengthen us and heal us. We must grow up! Drawing closer to God is bound to be uncomfortable and life-changing! No one in the Bible came near to God (good or evil) and walked away unchanged!

So let’s come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let’s keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water. We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us. We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.

Hebrews 10:22-25 (CEV)

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