The following quotation is from James 4:8-9 in a translation I have by an African scholar, Francois Du Toit. (His work is free on his web site: www.mirrorreflection.net). As with any translation, especially of this genre, there are some built in problems, so do not take this as a complete recommendation (I would say the same about The Message, The New Living Bible, etc…). However, in these translations there are some wonderful insights. I want to share this one with you and then some thoughts on one of his phrases.
4:8 Snuggle up to the warm embrace of God, experience His closeness to you, (In Christ He cancelled every definition of distance.) The sinner can come with all stains washed from his hands, the double-minded can come with a purified heart.
4:9 This is not a light-hearted yielding, realize the misery you have brought upon yourself with intense grief and weeping; replace your laughter with sincere sorrow, and your joy with shame. (Your superficial laughter and fake-joy can no longer hide the shame of your sins.)
Notice the translation of “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” “Snuggle up to the warm embrace of God, experiencing His closeness to you (In Christ He cancelled the very definition of distance). This is very good to get the feeling as well as the data across to us.
So often we have taught (and been taught) that our sin separates us from God (and that has some truth in the life of an unbeliever), that we never quite believe or experience what the Holy Spirit wants us to know.
The Lord Jesus Christ, so completely forgave our sins (obliterating them from existence) that nothing can ever separate Him from willingly drawing near (even to the sinner if they will call out to Him). He leaves “the ball in our court,” so to speak. We are to draw near when we choose. He has chosen – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” There is no distance between you and Him, if you have received Him. He is there for each of us. Just imagine No Distance – WOW!
So, beloved one of the Lord, just turn your self to Him, and allow His presence to solve all the anxiety and uncertainty in life. He so loved you . . . Do not let that go unanswered. Sometimes we are startled by someone telling us they love us. I know I am when it comes, as it is often very unexpected. Yet, I do respond – never wanting such a statement to fall to the ground without my reception. So it is with the Lord, just draw near, or as this version says “Snuggle up,” and allow Him to do and be all He is for you. He waits just for you. And the really neat thing is – that it doesn’t matter how long it has been since you “snuggled” – He delights in you doing so.