Seek the Lord your God

Seek the Lord Your God

'But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul'. That is a promise which many have found to be true. Psalm 34 says 'I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears'. And again Psalm 63 says 'O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water'. Proverbs says of God 'I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me'. Isaiah the prophet also said 'Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous person their thoughts; And let them return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on them, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon'. Jesus said 'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened'. Jesus was not talking about a Lottery win but about the Kingdom of God. In John’s Gospel we read people came to the disciple Philip and began to ask him, saying, 'Sir, we wish to see Jesus'. Paul in Romans comments on the culture of his day 'THERE IS NO-ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD'. He could be talking to our culture today. In Hebrews we find confirmation 'And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him'.

What is meant is continual seeking out God as a way of life. Would you describe yourself as a ‘Seeker after God?’ Are you pro-actively trying to find God as you live your life? What does that mean? Both the Old and New Testaments say it is a 'setting of the mind and heart' on God. It is the conscious fixing or focusing of our mind’s attention and our heart’s affection on God. 'Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God'. (1 Chronicles 22:19) Paul wrote 'If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth'. (Colossians 3:1–2)

This setting of the mind is the opposite of mental coasting or spiritual laziness. It is a conscious choice to direct the heart toward God. But that effort to seek God is a gift from God. It is more than Church-going. It is more than being a nominal Christian. It is an active personal commitment. We do not make this mental and emotional effort to seek God because He is lost. God is not lost though God is often hidden. Veiled. The heavens are telling the glory of God. So we can seek him through that. He reveals himself in his Word – the Bible. So we can seek him through that. He shows himself to us in the evidences of grace in other people. So we can seek him through that. The seeking is the conscious effort to constantly set our minds toward God in all our experiences, to direct our minds and hearts toward him through the means of his revelation. This is what seeking God means. The frightening thing is that God is there to be found if we take the trouble to seek God out. That means that many who do not take the trouble to seek God are not correct in thinking that God does not exist. And that is where our society is today.

And there are endless obstacles that we must get around in order to see God clearly, and so that we can be in the light of his presence. We must reduce or give up spiritually dulling activities. They are blocking our way. We know what makes us vitally sensitive to God’s appearances in the world and in the Word. And we know what dulls us and blinds us and makes us not even want to seek him. These things we must move away from and go around if we would see God. That is what seeking God involves. And as we direct our minds and hearts Godward in all our experiences, we cry out to him. This too is what seeking him. Seeking involves calling and pleading. 'O Lord, open my eyes. O Lord, pull back the curtain of my own blindness. Lord, have mercy and reveal yourself. I long to see your face'.

All this travels in the opposite direction of our time and culture, society and nation. To be actively seeking God today is to be in a minority. Why bother? It would be something inside you that would be gently nagging at you, not giving you peace. It would be a voice, a call, an inclination, a restless spirit, an inquiring mind. But do you actually know anyone at all who is seeking God as a priority or even as a factor in their life? And in all honesty are you doing so? Or are you not bothering about God much? Taking things for granted. Maybe not as arrogant as the person who said ‘God will forgive me – that is his job’.

The Welsh poet George Herbert lived a short life from 1593 to 1633. He was a priest in the Anglican Church. He was a seeker after God. He wrote beautiful poems about being a Christian. He also went through spiritual struggling. Here is his poem 'Deniall'.

'When my devotions could not pierce 
Thy silent ears; 
Then was my heart broken, as was my verse: 
My breast was full of fears 
And disorder: 

O that thou shouldst give dust a tongue 
To cry to thee, 
And then not hear it crying! all day long 
My heart was in my knee, 
But no hearing. 

Therefore my soul lay out of sight, 
Untuned, unstrung: 
My feeble spirit, unable to look right, 
Like a nipped blossom, hung 

O cheer and tune my heartless breast, 
Defer no time; 
That so thy favours granting my request, 
They and my mind may chime, 
And mend my rime'.

You can imagine George Herbert thinking to himself. ‘Who cares?’ Did his parishioners know about his private agonies in the Spirit? Probably not. His poems testify to a man who sought God and shared his spiritual journey in poetry which has come down through the ages.

Lots of people mention God in conversation. Mostly it is a misuse of God’s name, taking it in vain. 'O My God'. Americans seem to say that as a staple response to anything good or bad. The most obvious way to seek God is through prayer. To have prayer as the basis of your life is a gift. To be able to consider all that you are and have in your life in terms of Christian prayer is something very special. But what is the direction of your praying? Is it for God to do things for you and for those you care about? Nothing wrong with that. But seeking God is about praying in the opposite direction towards God for His own sake. Loving Jesus for His own sake. Seeking the presence of the Holy Spirit for His own sake. A recent survey found that today fewer and fewer people pray to God. It’s hardly surprising given the relentless promotion of atheism. Do we simply believe that we don’t need prayer? Why would this be? Maybe it’s because we are so well off that we don’t need God. As Christians do we not need to know that He is there for us, that He loves us and that He is eagerly waiting to help us when we pray to Him. We need God’s grace and power every time we come into temptation, in order to overcome. It is good to have the possibility to pray. But most of us will cry out to God if only the situation is difficult enough. Then it is good to be able to pray to Jesus. Where there is great need, there is probably much prayer. But is Jesus sometimes just a last resort? One we can turn to when there are no more options? Why wait until a disaster happens before we turn to Him? Just think how valuable it is to take every little situation seriously and already there admit that we need help from God.

Seeking God as a foundation for life is a better strategy. Such people follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Such people experience victory and experiences of faith in the midst of everyday life. Perhaps we’re often too busy to pray. Most of us can relate to this, that it is so easy to get too busy. Work, home and family life, recreations, interests and friends and even church require time and effort. We can easily become totally engrossed by everything to plan and do today, this week and until the next holiday. The days race by. But although there is a lot going on, there is need not exclude prayer. Indeed, the opposite is usually the case — it is especially then that we need prayer. When there is a lot going on, and we are interacting with different people, for example, we should be extra alert. Our own negative reactions occur before we know it. There may be irritation for example, which very easily emerges when we are stressed. To adhere to the will of God during the day and especially during busy times, we need to pray even more than before, for love, patience and kindness. Seeking God may not be the first thing on your mind as you wake up each day. It may not even be natural for humans to seek out God. But many have done so. The promise of the Bible and of their testimonies is that if you embark on a journey of seeking God you will find God. It will not end in disappointment and failure. You don’t need to be a second-hand Christian relying on the faith of others. God is there for you to be discovered by you and enjoyed by you all your days.

Robert Anderson 2017

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