“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart”. Jeremiah 29:13
Although the immediate context in which this verse is written relates to Judah’s captivity in Babylon there is nonetheless an equally important application in it for each of our lives.
The key quality required from us to be a seeker of God is wholeheartedness. We have the promise of God that we will find Him (not might) when we shall search for Him with all our heart. If we are seeking after other things in life then by definition we cannot be searching for God with all of our heart, in which case our allegiance to Him is half-hearted at best. In Psalm 42 David reveals to us the intensity with which he sought after God; “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” How does your desire to meet with God compare with that of David’s?
“A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God.” (Ravenhill).
There is no middle ground when it comes to seeking out the Lord – either we are or we aren’t. Spurgeon explains this truth with the following illustration; “If one part of the man refuses to seek the Lord and remains reserved for Satan, then the evil one has a line upon the whole man! Here is a little bird and it tries to fly into the open air, but it is not free. And why not? Its wings are loose, see how it flutters! Its head is not bound, hear how it sings! And this foot is free, too – why is it not at liberty? Do you not perceive that the other leg is bound by a thin twine? True, it is only held by that single thread, but it is not free. The whole bird is bound, because that one foot is held by that single thread! And so long as a man of free choice gives up any part of himself to the power of sin and keeps back any part of his nature from seeking after God, he is not really seeking the Lord at all, but remains a slave of sin”. If we are determined to seek out the Lord and commune with Him on a daily basis then we must depart from sin, if we are not prepared to do this then we show how little fellowship with God means to us. There is no sin so great that it cannot be overcome by God’s grace through prayer, fasting and availing of the promises of God.
What do you think of when you wake up first thing in the morning? In the natural I’m sure we can come up with many answers to this question; wishing we still had a few more hours in bed, breakfast, work, getting the children ready for school, worries, self, we could go on and on. However as Christians the first thing we should be thinking of in the morning is God, we should be thanking Him for His saving grace, for the day that He has created and how we might be used by Him in it. This may not presently be our habit but wouldn’t it be a good one to form? Certainly it is one that would bring great delight to the Lord; I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me (Prov 8:17). The word “early” here better translates diligently but what better way to show that we are diligent than by getting up early to seek after God! This may involve sacrifice, perhaps going to bed early so that we can rise early the next morning to meet with Him. If we are willing to do this we can rest assured that all of the other things that we must contend with in life will be sorted out by God; “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:33). Martin Luther had his priorities right when he said “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer”. How can we expect to serve the Lord effectively when we have not spent time with Him in prayer and been filled afresh by His Holy Spirit?
Prayer is a vital component in seeking out the Lord. This is not just the time we set aside to bring our supplications before the throne of grace but where we seek to spend time with the Lord Himself, to cultivate our relationship with Him, to listen for His still, small voice in light of what His Word says. This time should be precious to us and something we look forward to doing each and every day. Matthew 6:6 speaks of us going into our prayer closet, of course this is not speaking of a literal closet but it is certainly not a bad thing to have a quiet place where we can go to to be alone with God and to seek His face. If our relationship with God is to deepen, both individually and collectively as a fellowship, then we must recognise the importance of prayer in our life and duly set aside the necessary time for it. “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying.”(Ravenhill).