What It Means to Truly Seek God
By Shane Idleman
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14
We are so easily distracted from spending time with God. We are too busy and too absorbed in our personal lives and our person storylines. May we pause today and ask what it truly means to seek God. Crosswalk Contributor Shane Idleman shares:
In today’s culture, there are countless enticements that pull us away from truly seeking God. It is my firm belief that, second only to salvation, seeking God is the most important aspect of the Christian life...to truly know God: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Very few of us ever experience this close relationship with God because it involves things such as humility, dying to self, vibrant prayer, and heart-felt worship. This isn’t meant to discourage, but to convict. Conviction is a wonderful gift from God used to turn the heart back to Him.
Let’s be honest: how many can truly say like Jeremiah, “His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:9)? How many have truly experienced Jesus’ words in John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water?” How many can truly relate to “times of refreshing” found in Acts 3:19? How many really understand the words of John the Baptist when he cried out, “After me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11)? Many have head knowledge, but they’ve never truly experienced the presence of God.
Most never seek God because of ongoing and unconfessed sin. Being tempted isn’t sin—surrendering to it is. Temptation is also an opportunity to do what is right by turning from it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 states, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” This “way of escape” is ultimately what tilts the scale toward seeking God. When we flee temptation, turn from sin, and seek God, the by-product is the filling of the Spirit. The door of temptation swings both ways—you can enter or exit. If we choose to enter, once inside, we may not see the exit sign so clearly again.
I’ll close with a correspondence I received from a man before he fully sought God with all his heart, “I had become someone I never thought I would become. I was in complete darkness...I would sleep in my clothes for as long as I could. I began wishing that I would die. The emotional pain was unbearable.” But here is his correspondence after he passionately sought God and surrendered his life to Him. “I only wish that everyone could feel the love that I experienced. I’m able to forgive others and genuinely love them. I feel like I have been re-born...elusive peace has now been found.”
How long will you waiver? If God is God follow Him (cf. 1 Kings 18:21).