When this question popped into my head, I instantly thought to Google it, to see what other people thought it truly meant to seek God. Before I do the inner soul-searching, trying to discover what I think it means to me, why not get some advice from other people? After all, there’s something to learn from everyone.
The first article I stumbled across was by John Piper, Founder & Teacher of desiringGod.org. Let me summarise; Piper says that seeking God is a conscious choice to focus our mind and our heart on the presence of God; this could manifest itself through prayer, Bible reading, and so on.
“Seeking God is the conscious effort to get through the natural means to God himself.” – John Piper
Piper says that seeking God also means removing obstacles such as our own pride… Challenging stuff, I know, but I’m sure we’ve all been there. I’m sure your own life will pose it’s challenges – let’s be real, if there’s one thing the enemy wants to get in the way of, it’s going to be our quality time with God. Is anybody else getting the feeling that seeking God isn’t always that simple, and that it can be a kind of battle?
I don’t know about you, but my ideal way of relaxing is to sit down with a cuppa and a few (or many) snacks, watching some great films. It’s my way of switching off and shifting my thoughts away from the stress of day-to-day life. It’s refreshing. It’s easy. No effort necessary. Sometimes, I find myself thinking that seeking God is as easy as that – as effortless as sitting down and staring at a screen for a time of ultimate relaxation. I wonder why I don’t feel fulfilled. I wonder why I hunger for more of God. Now, hear me out, I’m not saying that God is far away and difficult to search for; we know our God is omnipresent, all around us, always there; but if we want more of God, surely we have to put more of ourselves into the seeking.
I’m sat in the group prayer meeting, just the same as last week, zoning out again and finding myself getting a little bored. Why don’t I feel alive and revived? Everyone around me is declaring the word of God, speaking words of life over themselves, over each other, over the church. I’ll just sit down and read the verse of the day, I think to myself, surely God will speak to me through that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a prayer meeting just as empty as when I walked in. I’ve been a follower of Christ for some years now; I love prayer, I love worshipping God, but I’d lost my fire. I wanted that fire back, but lacked the enthusiasm and the willpower to go out and start seeking it.
That’s why I say that seeking God isn’t always easy. It takes focus of the heart and mind; it is a conscious choice. Weeks later, I had a moment of revelation. I came to realise that I had mastered the art of escapism. Just like when I sit down in front of the TV and immerse myself in a great movie, I had mastered the skill of escaping the prayer meeting, the church gathering, and so on. I was there, but I wasn’t present.
HOW TO BE BOTH THERE AND PRESENT
It’s a heart thing. Think of it like this; we have our spirit, our mind, and our body. Our body can be in the prayer meeting –sitting, standing, kneeling – our mind can be thinking all sorts, and our spirit, the part of us that links so divinely to God’s own being, is waiting for its opportunity to connect fully with its creator. To really be present and seek God, it means setting our mind on things above [Colossians 3:2 paraphrase]. It’s an effort to fixate our mind on heavenly things when the earthly things surround us, but it’s an effort that allows God to speak to us; from the Holy Spirit, to the spirit in us.
“Acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” – 1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV
How powerful! Our minds are the key to seeking God. It is our mind that says, you know what, I’m going to pray even though I don’t feel like it; I’m going to intentionally focus my mind on God. Think about Jesus. Think about the first moment you experienced God, whatever that looks like for you. Think about that conversation you had that really opened your eyes to the reality of Jesus. Think about that moment when you saw or heard an answered prayer. It’s those things that bring us back to basics; focusing on heavenly things, seeking things above, seeking God!
Have a blessed week everyone,