It is not hard to recognize someone who has spent extended time at a newsstand: His conversation overflows with the drama of current affairs. And it is not hard to discern a person who has come from a sporting event, as his face reveals the outcome of the game. Likewise, people can tell when an individual has spent extended time seeking God. An imperturbable calm guards his heart, and his countenance is radiant with light, as with the morning dew of heaven.
Beloved, to seek and find God is everything. It is to our shame that in our era church services do not focus more on actually seeking God. Yes, we do honor God and thank Him for what He has done. We hear a sermon and perhaps enjoy a time of fellowship with others. Yet only rarely do we depart a congregational meeting with the fire of eternity reflecting off our faces. Instead we fill up with information about God without actually drawing near to Him. Most of us are largely unaware of God’s presence.
While we rightly need church programs, fellowship and times for ministry training, we must not assume that religious indoctrination is the same thing as actually seeking God. And while I am often blessed listening to contemporary Christian music, even godly entertainment is no substitute for my own worship encounter with God.
Therefore let us ask ourselves: Is there a place and a time set apart in our spiritual lives where we can give ourselves to seeking God? What is the Spirit of God actually desired to manifest Himself during our worship service? Would the Lord have to wait until we finished our scheduled program? I respect and recognize the need for order; we need the scheduled times for announcements and the defined purposes that currently occupy Sunday mornings, but have we made room for God Himself?
When we first determine to draw near to God, it may seem we have little to show for our efforts. Yet be assured: Even the thought of seeking God is a step toward our transformation. Still, we often do not notice the early signs of our spiritual renewal—for as we grow increasingly more aware of God, we simultaneously grow increasingly less aware of ourselves. Though we may not see that we are changing, others certainly will.
Consider the experience of Moses. The Lord’s servant had ascended Mount Sinai and there stood before the living God. The eyes of Moses were actually filled with God’s sun-like glory; his ears actually heard the audible sound of the Lord’s voice. Yet when Moses returned to the people, the Bible says he “did not know that the skin of his face shone” (Ex. 34:29). When the Israelites saw the fire of God’s glory on the face of Moses, “they were afraid to come near him” (v. 30). They saw he had been with God.
The church needs more people who have, like Moses, climbed closer to the Almighty—people who have stood in the sacred fire of God’s presence. Instead we exhaust ourselves arguing over peripheral doctrines or styles of music in our song services. Perhaps there are benefits to constantly debating the nuances of our doctrines, but are we not more truly thirsting for the reality of God?
What happens when we seek God? The Bible says at the very moment we are drawing near to Him, the living presence of God Himself is drawing near to us (see James 4:8). Help is coming, redemption for our situation is on its way, strength will soon be arriving, and the powers of healing are activated.
But, we may argue, what if we seek Him and He does not come near? Fear not, He will. He may not manifest as we supposed, but He will come.
Our goal is to—day by day—draw nearer to God. He has commanded that we come boldly to His throne of grace. To receive the help we need, we must arrive at His throne. Remember also that our confidence comes from Christ Himself. He promises, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:8).
We are seeking a lifetime of increasing devotion, though it may certainly begin in a season of drawing near. In spite of natural and spiritual obstacles, as we persevere, the Lord assures us, “How much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (v.11).
If we do not cease seeking and knocking, we will discover unfolding degrees of intimacy with God. Even now, He’s drawing near. The Lord promises, “Everyone who … seeks finds.”
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 10/28/13
This week make it a priority to seek God’s transforming presence with worship, meditation and prayer. Set a time and put aside all distractions that would divert your attention away from Him. Let Him speak to you from His Word and thank Him for the promise that if you seek Him you will find Him. Once you’ve spent time enjoying His presence and giving Him worship, expand your prayer to include those who need salvation, revival and provision. Ask Him to direct your steps where you can be a blessing to those in need. Continue to pray for global revival and for more laborers for His harvest fields. Lift up our government leaders and pray that they will seek the Lord’s guidance to govern. Remember Israel and the persecuted church. Matt. 7:7-8; Ps. 9:10