I'll Be Nice To You, If You're Nice To Me
When my three year old nephew was little my mom told him to be nice one day. He was mad at her for correcting him. He quickly told her, "I will be nice to you if you are nice to me." She and I got so tickled but did not let him know. While adults may not say that, I think we feel that way and act that way. It is so hard but we have to take the high road and be the one who speaks or is nice - no matter.
It is easy to be stubborn and not budge but that will not get us anywhere positive. When we harden our hearts, so as not to get hurt, we stop ourselves from truly knowing God. If we don't truly know God then we will not be able to experience all of His blessings. James, the brother of Jesus, wrote to the believers in Jerusalem. James 4: 8, "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." If we want to get to know God we must come near to Him. James goes on to say that if we have committed sin we must confess it. We must get rid of it. We should ask God to examine our heart and our motives. As believers, we must encourage one another and forgive one another. Without that we cannot truly approach God. James 4: 10, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." Put to death the things that are stopping you from coming to Christ with a humble heart.
Through prayer and worship we can draw near to God. He wants us to come to Him with a humble heart. He wants us to come to Him ready to submit to His will. He wants us to glorify Him as the Lord of our lives. When we do these things we are able to experience the blessings of God. We will experience peace, hope, joy, love, strength, etc. Hebrews 10: 22, "let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."
God does not withhold His presence from us but He does not force us to abide in Him. We have free will and if we want to go our own way, he lets us and waits patiently for us. God never expected us to live this life perfectly. He knows better than we do the reason we are holding back from Him. He feels compassion for us and wants us to experience His grace. He loves us more than we could ever imagine. Draw near to Him!