Praying to the Father, through Jesus Christ, brings us into the presence of the most holy, positive, righteous, peaceful, serving, giving, humble, merciful, and unchanging attitudes and character that exist in the entire universe! The notes at Psalm 16:11 demonstrate a simplified effect of this in how the attitudes of people we spend time with affect us. Whether that person's attitude is positive or negative, unless we resist or our attitude is strong, our attitude tends to echo the strength of the other's attitudes. If the other is personally close to us—especially if we deem the relationship important to us—the effect of the transfer of attitudes intensifies. Similarly, physical nearness also intensifies the effect.
This is why men reflect Satan's spirit. Satan "broadcasts" it over our entire environment here on earth, thus, we are always "near" it. In fact, God has willed that at this time it will have no strong competition among the unconverted. Even we cannot entirely escape its influence; even when in God's presence, we can bring that spirit with us.
Notice that Hebrews 10:22 says, "[L]et us draw near. . . ." Nearness enhances the transfer of the qualities of God's Spirit, and He greatly desires we have these qualities because they will make us like Him. Being in His presence is a primary way this is accomplished. This is why a person can leave God's presence in prayer at peace, full of joy, or filled with confidence—or on the other hand, chastened, having been led to remorse and repentance. Drawing near to God has little to do with distance and everything to do with deepening our relationship with Him. As this occurs, prayer begins to change things—us.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Nine
The purpose of Christ's death was not merely to pay for sins but also to provide the means for a relationship with God. If we are at all mindful of salvation, we need to be concerned about such a relationship because that is the means of overcoming and growing toward the Kingdom of God. It is the relationship with God that counts, not merely that we are forgiven.
Would a woman like it if, instead of spending time with her and giving his attention to the things of common interest to their relationship, the man she is intended to marry paid attention to everything else? Perhaps he gives his attention to his work, working all hours of the day and maybe of the night. By the time he came home, he is so tired or there are so many other things he had to do that he cannot give her any time - and so she never has much of a relationship with him. Or maybe he spends his time on entertainment, hobbies, sports. If a woman intended to marry such a person and began noticing this in him, it would not be long before she moved on with her life. She could only conclude, "This guy is a loser." She could not expect any kind of healthy relationship with him.
Inserting God in the woman's place in such a relationship, would He be kindly disposed and eager to help the person who is ignoring Him, neglecting Him? God is no sap.
Let's turn this around. Would a man be inclined to help his fiancée if she were giving her attentions to every man who came along? The Bible frequently describes Israel in this way in the context of her relationship with God. All the woman wants to do is to party, drink, play games, and be frivolous and silly, while flirting indiscriminately with each man who caught her eye. How much and for how long would her intended be willing to help her? How soon would he break off the relationship?
God gives powers to those who involve their lives within the framework of His concerns - and His chief concern is to reproduce Himself (Genesis 1:26). To those people, God gives strength and benefits. Once we understand what makes a successful relationship with God, we must make every effort to harmonize with that process through prayer, Bible study, meditation, fasting, submission, and obedience. God gives His Spirit and its gifts to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32), who submit to Him, communicate with Him, and allow Him to communicate with them.
With such people, He has a real relationship. God will bend over backward for them, which He has already showed He will do by giving His Son, as He could give nothing more valuable.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The first thing Paul lays out in this transition is a three-step trigger to prime the Hebrew Christians' latent memories so they will be armed with foundational incentives to rouse themselves spiritually and start moving forward. In verses 22-24, he makes three exhortations.
First, "let us draw near." In other words, get moving! He says, "Take advantage of this privilege of coming before God, and believe without doubting, knowing your sins are forgiven and remembering that God is faithful and merciful to forgive." Recall that in the performance of their duties, the priests had to wash their hands and feet before entering the holy place. This is why Paul mentions water. He is alluding to the Hebrews' need to become clean. He urges them to repent of their lackadaisical attitudes and to meet with their Maker in prayer.
Second, he commands them to "hold fast your profession." Paul uses a similar phrase five times before this. Apparently, lackadaisical drifting was a particularly common problem for them. He wants them to show by their conduct that they believe in what God has promised in the resurrection from the dead. In short, he advises, "Remember your conviction in the awesome hope of our calling." These people were allowing the world to get them down; they were succumbing to a "what's the use" resignation. They were not busy confirming their souls. Paul exhorts them to continue, to persevere in the grace God had already shown them, not wanting them to waste it by failing to look ahead and be persistent. He presses them to yield to God and to allow themselves to be reassured that He is faithful to His promises.
Pay special attention to the third exhortation in verse 24. The word "consider" is very emphatic. He urges them to think upon and to strive for unity by giving conscientious care to each other. He wants the Hebrews to give special attention to their brethren's circumstances, trials, temptations, weaknesses, and needs. They need to "fire each other up" to promote love for God and for each other and to carry out our common responsibilities. Christians do this by setting a good example, by occasional suitable exhortations, by acts of kindness, and by expressions of appreciation.
Notice that as this exhortation begins, Paul calls upon the "big three" Christian virtues: faith, hope, and love. These would form the foundation of what the Hebrews must do if they were to reverse their slide toward the Lake of Fire. These virtues must be implemented because they affect the quality of a person's relationship with God. Because a Christian has God's Spirit, these virtues are already part of him. However, each individual must himself choose to use them to turn his life around; no one can do this for another. Of course, it is understood that God is always there to help a person do this.
John W. Ritenbaugh
God's Power: Our Shield Against Apostasy
Let us draw near - God always encourages us to draw close to Him in prayer. Here Paul instructs us to do so with unwavering confidence, fullness of faith, without any doubt, because the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has cleared our conscience and paved the way into God's presence.
Today, some no longer feel the need to pray and study daily. They make the excuse that they do not have enough time. There is not enough time NOT to pray and study! The Day is approaching! Paul writes in Romans 13:11-14:
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly. . . . But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
If we fail to use these very vital tools of prayer and study—which will help us "walk properly" and "put on the Lord Jesus Christ"—we will find ourselves separated from God. That is the last thing we want as the Great Tribulation approaches!
John O. Reid (1930-2016)