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God's Relentless Pursuit - First15 - April 2, 2018

God's Relentless Pursuit

Weekly Overview:

So often we view God as an enforcer of religious rules. We see the commands of Scripture as a list of to-dos rather than a path leading to abundant life. But those perceptions aren’t the truth of Scripture. Those beliefs are founded on misguided notions of God’s character. God is after the heart. More than he wants us to do right, he wants us to see him rightly. He wants going to church, reading the Bible, worshipping, serving the poor, and living righteously to come from a heart filled with a true revelation of his loving-kindness. May your heart be wholly God’s this week.

Scripture:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” Psalm 23:6

Devotional:    

The foundation for our faith is not meant to be built on our works or our understanding, but rather on God’s relentless pursuit of us. We have relationship with our Creator not because we sought him out, but because he is always pursuing us. Any elements of Christian spirituality at work in our lives are the result of his constant grace drawing us deeper and deeper into the abundant life Jesus died to give us. Faith built on anything else but God’s pursuit is faith built on our own strength—an unsure and consistently failing foundation. Ephesians 1:16-18 says:

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.

If we need a fresh understanding of God’s pursuit we need only to pray as Paul did: asking God to enlighten the eyes of our hearts. We need only to look to the pages of Scripture and see story after story of God pursuing those who rebelled against him. The entire book of Hosea describes the heart of God to pursue Israel in a real-life metaphor of Hosea pursuing Gomer, who time and time again left him to prostitute herself.

There is nothing we could do to keep God from pursuing us. There is no sin too great, no distance we could run, that would discourage God from loving us. From the moment you were born God has been pursuing your heart. His greatest longing is for relationship with us. Don’t let a wrong understanding of who God is cause your relationship with him to be works-based. Don’t let your sin and failures get in the way of running to the open arms of your heavenly Father.

God is after your heart right now. He’s sweetly knocking on the door of your heart that you might simply let him in. More than he wants you to do something for him today, he simply wants you to know he is with you and for you. Respond to God’s pursuit today by giving him your heart. May your time of guided prayer be marked by a revelation of his loving-kindness toward you.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on God’s relentless pursuit of your heart. Allow Scripture to lay the foundation for a relationship built on grace.

 “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” Psalm 23:6 (The Message)

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

2. Where has your relationship with the Father been founded on works rather than his pursuit? Where have you been trying to earn his affection? What parts of your heart have you withheld from him thinking he would reject you or chastise you?

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

3. Give God your whole heart in response to his great love and grace for you. Open the door of your heart to him and rest in a revelation of his loving-kindness.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

In Psalm 17:8 David prays, “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” May your pursuit of God be built on the truth that you are the apple of his eye. May your security be founded on the truth that he hides you in the shadow of his great wings. May your heart find peace, joy, and fulfillment today in the fact that God will never stop pursuing you.

Extended Reading: Psalm 23

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