It’s in the Approach!

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NIV

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4:16 AMP

A number of years ago, I worked for a professional baseball team as an athletic trainer. There was one particular person I had a very challenging and difficult time with…my immediate boss. He was a former professional baseball player and the manager for the minor league team I was working for.  He had an unusual personality and frankly never seemed like he was in a good mood. I really believe he had some bitterness because he was no longer a player and was now a coach. He was quite intimidating and I felt like I was always walking on eggshells around him. Whenever I had to approach him for something I needed, I hesitated and waited for what I thought was a good time…when really there was never a good time!

I was afraid of his responses to my questions and needs as I had already experienced his rude remarks on a number of occasions. I can recall on one particular instance, I approached him and asked him about an injured baseball player. His response? He yelled at me in front of the entire team. And the list of these experiences went on from him throwing a chair across the locker room to trying to fine me for being late…which I can honestly say I was not!

Have you ever had an experience like this?

Well, maybe not to the extent of having chairs thrown around on your behalf but maybe say approaching someone of authority like your boss for a pay raise or even a few days off? Have you been hesitant or intimidated because this person of authority was not very approachable for one reason or another?

Some of our needs today go far beyond asking our bosses for a pay raise or a few days off of work. You may be struggling with an illness or sickness in your body, a marriage that is falling apart, or a child who is resisting your authority (Oh, my Lord, I know this one too well having 2 boys!). You may be struggling with emotional pain from past disappointments or have suffered a major financial loss in this struggling economy. Maybe your need is to forgive yourself from past failures or simply to receive God’s forgiveness for your sins.

I can tell you that I used to feel hesitant turning to God in praying for my needs. At times, I felt fearful approaching God (and I don’t mean the healthy fear of God defined as reverence) because I struggled with trusting him. I felt at times that I didn’t want to “bother “God and other times I was convinced that he didn’t hear me especially when I didn’t get my answers right away!

Well, I can tell you today that you have someone that you can approach who welcomes you and your requests with open and loving arms, who you can approach with no fear or hesitation, who can fill your needs better than any person ever will, whose responses are gentle and full of grace, mercy and love, and …who wants you to come to him!

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NIV

I absolutely love this scripture! And want to share it with you in more detail with hopes of it encouraging you to draw closer to God with greater confidence and faith(not hesitation) and to pray for all (not some) of your needs and requests with greater boldness(not fear)!

Hebrews 4:16 begins with “Let us.” That means you and me. We as Christians have been given the awesome privilege to approach God. Thanks to Jesus Christ, by faith we can enter directly into God’s presence through prayer. We know we will be welcomed with open arms because we are God’s children through our union with Christ.

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

The next word “then” can easily be overlooked but is so important. It means next or afterward. So this implies that we need to look at the scripture just before Hebrews 4:16 at verse 15 to gain a better perspective.

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Hebrews 4:15 AMP

So amazing that Jesus was both God and man and as man he shared in our weaknesses and temptations but was without sin!  As my pastor always says, Jesus came to us as “God in a bod” (aka body) when he walked here on this earth. This verse also exemplifies Jesus’ power and sovereignty as well as his understanding and sympathy towards us as our high priest. And knowing this, “then” we can approach him.

“Approach” The word “approach” means to come near or nearer to someone or something in the distance. It is a verb and therefore requires us to take action.

Have you been standing back and waiting to approach God with your needs? Well, it is time to step forward and to him with your prayer requests!

“The Throne” What is a throne a symbol of? The Greek word used here is thronos, indicating “a stately seat, implying power.  In other words, a throne is a position of power and authority and therefore whoever sits on the throne carries all the power and authority implied.

But it isn’t just a throne…it is a throne of grace!

“Grace” is unmerited favor. The Greek word for grace is charis meaning “benefit, favor, gift, graciousness. This benefit, favor or gift is not earned but is due to the generosity of the giver and in this case our God.

So we are approaching a God who extends grace to us even when we don’t deserve it!

Ok…stay with me! I know this is a lot to take in!

“With Confidence” So how do we approach God’s throne of grace?…with confidence! According to the amplified version of the bible, “fearlessly”, “confidently, and “boldly”. “Confidence” means firm trust, faith, reliance.

How confidently are you approaching God with your needs? How much are you trusting him when you come to him with your issues, problems, and requests?

Here are a few ways we can perceive the God that we are approaching in contrast to someone of authority in our lives who may be unapproachable:

1)    He has the reputation and character that denotes the fruit of the spirit…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self- control. (Galations 5:22-23)

2)    He is never in a bad mood nor are his emotions fickle or changing. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8)

3)    God’s resources will never run out. You can’t out ask, out request, or out petition God with your prayer needs!

4)    There is no need to determine the right timing to ask him. Although his answers may be based on his timing, your requests are not!

Excuse my lengthiness today as I have obviously taken a lot of time focusing on the first half of Hebrews 4:16 and may continue the rest of this scripture in a later blog. But I hope to have encouraged you in knowing that you and I have the privilege to come near our gracious God with firm trust and reliance “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Reflection Points:

1)    What are you in need of today?

2)    Have you approached God in prayer with confidence or hesitation? Why?

3)    How confident are you that he hears you? (Psalm 116:1)

4)    How well do you know who you are approaching?

Action Points:

1)    Approach God confidently today with your requests.

2)    Trust and have faith that he hears you.

3)    The more you get to know God, the more you will understand and trust who he is, not just what he can do for you. A perfect way to get to know God better is by reading his word!

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