CAMP DON LEE CROSS

Photo by Jeff K. Lloyd

In years past, I had a childish faith. Not the trusting, childlike faith that Jesus prescribes for us,[1] but a faith that believed God would rescue me when I needed him and that, otherwise, the relationship was “good.” I thought going to church, reading my Bible and praying met God’s expectations.

I didn’t know that God wants us to seek him as a means not only to salvation but also to grow in relationship with him. Consider the dismal impact on a marriage in which one partner views the other as ancillary. How could I imagine the Lord would accept being related to in this way? Without a doubt, I’m a happy wife when my husband of 25 years continues to pursue me. Our relationship grows deeper as a result of a love that’s held dear. Real effort fuels a good relationship.

I also didn’t understand God’s guarantee that if we seek him we will find him. I thought I had found him, but I never had sought him in the expansive way he desires. The Lord promises us through the prophet Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”[2] King David says to his son Solomon, “Know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.”[3]

These are rough words. They confirm that God’s not available for a casual relationship. In order to have the fullness of life and purpose that God offers,[4] not to mention eternity with him, we must commit to much more than ritualistic obedience. I knew I needed to learn how to seek him.

Thankfully, through an excellent Bible study and God’s continued work in me, I learned that God teaches us about himself, his purposes, his will and his ways, primarily through the following means:

  • the Bible,
  • prayer,
  • circumstances, and
  • the community of believers that is the Church.[5]

I knew about the first two, but I didn’t know that God speaks to us through circumstances and other believers. Adherence to these methods of seeking God, though, still didn’t satisfy God’s requirements. Reliance on them needed to become a part of my very being. They needed to become integral to my daily life and decision-making, so much so that I would be aware of a lacking in my knowledge of God when I overlooked or neglected them.

To move beyond ritualism, I needed to learn that, just like an athlete must train his body in a number of ways to refine his ability, the believer must dedicate himself to the training of his heart, soul and mind to perceive the Lord and his leading.[6] Relying on fewer than all of the prescribed training methods often results in inadequate or even detrimental “preparation.”

Similarly, relying on a single indication of God’s will without confirming our understanding through the other means of discernment is to stop short and risk being led astray. God often will use a combination of his means to show us the way. Paramount, though, is that God never will guide us to act in a way inconsistent with Scripture.[7]

Furthermore, seeking God “with all our heart” necessitates seeking him:

  • intentionally,
  • in a focused way,
  • with him as our highest priority,
  • with passion and a yearning to live for him, and
  • throughout the remaining days of our lives.[8]

When we are faithful in seeking God, he’s faithful in keeping our hearts tuned to his and nurturing our passion for him. The Holy Spirit awakens us to more of God’s truth—sometimes in beautiful nuggets to be assembled into a masterpiece over time, sometimes as a more sudden awakening, and sometimes pointing us toward a new purpose or in a different direction. As we trust in him, God even increases our ability to take pleasure in his sovereignty, welcoming his divine interruptions and rerouting of our plans.[9]

Rather than proceeding with blinders on, we’re called to watch for God’s guidance as we go through this life, desiring to join God in his work on earth—the greatest privilege of the followers of Christ. We were created for a life that is lived for divine purposes.  This is the life that gives fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 Proverbs 8:34-35

“Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the Lord”

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

REFLECTION

  • Which of these areas is God calling you to commit to with greater faithfulness— prayer, the Bible, and/or a community of believers?
  • Reflect on how you’ve experienced God’s speaking to you through prayer, the Bible, and/or the Church to help you see his hand in your circumstances. These are the “God stories” in your life that should be cherished and shared.

PRAYER

Father God, help me to seek you with my whole heart and a willing mind, living the life in Christ that gives fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.

EXCERPTS READY TO SHARE (copy and paste)

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We were created for a life that is lived for divine purposes. https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/30/how-are-we-to-seek-jesus-part-1-of-5-seeking-jesus-finding-life/

God speaks. Are you listening? https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/30/how-are-we-to-seek-jesus-part-1-of-5-seeking-jesus-finding-life/

To have the fullness of life and purpose that God offers, we must commit to more than ritualistic obedience. https://karenlindia.com/2016/11/30/how-are-we-to-seek-jesus-part-1-of-5-seeking-jesus-finding-life/

FOOTNOTES

[1] Luke 18:17

[2] Jeremiah 29:13, Proverbs 8:17

[3] I Chronicles 28: 9, Psalm 14:2

[4] Psalm 16:11, John 8:12

[5] Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, Unit 5 “God Speaks, Part 1,” in Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Workbook) (Nashville, TN: LifeWay Press, 1990), 77.

[6] 1 Timothy 4:7-8

[7] 2 Timothy 3:16

[8] Psalm 105:4

[9] Romans 8:28

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