Setting your heart to seek the Lord

pray-196195_6402Chronicles 11:16: And those who had set their hearts to seek the LORD God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the LORD, the God of their fathers.

In the midst of the religious decay that was going on in Israel after the original nation of Israel was divided into two (Israel and Judah), some people set their hearts to seek the Lord, dissociating themselves from the idol worship in Jeroboam-ruled Israel. They refused to follow the multitude to do evil (Exodus 23:2), they did not depart from the Lord. In the same way, we are enjoined to set our minds on things in heaven and not on things on earth (Colossians 3:1-4), we are meant to seek for the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33), have that as our priority.

In the midst of an adulterous and evil generation we are supposed to live for God, shine as light (Mark 8:38). If we are not seeking God we will seek something else. But out highest calling is to seek God, he is the gift that keeps giving; there is an endlessness to him, there is the ever increasing possibilities to knowing him.

When it comes to seeking, Jesus said that if anyone is thirsty, he should come to him and out of that person’s belly will flow, rivers of living water in the experience of the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39). God said that he has not asked us to seek him in vain (Isaiah 45:19); he would always reward those who seek him diligently (Hebrews 11:6).

The heart is the place of desire, if the love of God is in our heart; it will cause us to be attracted to him, cause us to move in his direction. If we are in love with him, seeking his face would give us the highest excitement.  And as we do that we are changed as we behold his glory, to the same image from glory to glory (2Corinthians 3:18), there is no limit to the change we can come to as we seek him, and so there can be no limit to seeking him.

Jesus, while on the earth sought God, his disciples observed his life of devotion, familiarity with the scriptures, of prayer and they asked him: teach us to pray (Luke 11:1).

They want the same kind of connection with God that he has, they want to be in on the secret of Christ’s close relationship with God, because they saw how it defined him, making him to shine all the time.

There can be no relationship with God except we seek him. In the Old Testament the construction of an altar is a statement from a seeker of God. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob built altars, marking them as seekers of God, seeking to connect with him.

Though they have the promise from God for their offspring, they were also lovers of God, they had an attachment to him; they were in an ongoing relationship with him. The promise they had did not make them presumptuous in their relationship with God.

Noah built an altar to seek God even after the whole world went under water and all flesh was destroyed from the face of the earth. Seeing the destruction all around him, he still had the presence of mind to seek God. He did not dwell on the past but sought God for the future, making sacrifices which ministered to God, worshipping God (Genesis 8:20-22). He was an addictive lover of God no matter the circumstance and God responded by releasing his blessing on the earth, in a restart of the time of man on the earth.

Our whole life should be about seeking God, about worshipping him; Jesus told a woman that God is Spirit and those who worship him should do so in spirit and in truth and that God seeks such to worship him (John 4:21-24 ). God is seeking for seekers. He has a special affinity to them. He gives them preferential treatment; he puts value on them because they put value on him.

We need to deliberately set our heart to seek God because of the various influences that want to be cast on it. Paul said that we should reject the attempt by the world to bend us to its ways, because as the heart goes, thus the life goes (Romans 12:1-2).

Solomon, having a false sense of strength, got involved with strange women coming with their garbage from their idol worship-immersed cultures. Solomon made Israel a melting point for the gods of all the nations around, but eventually those women he married distracted him from God, from seeking him according to the legacy of his father, David, and he brought judgement on himself and his offspring. The women turned his heart away from God (1Kings 11:1-10).

It is important to emphasise our inner life with God rather than our external life in the public glare. Jesus said that when we pray, it should be privately between us and God, as we have a private time with him, where we get to shake off distractions as we focus on him and seek him (Matthew 6:5-6). We check all the fears at the door in the place of seeking and when we come out, it is as a different person.

The highest reasons to seek God are because we love him and because we want to be changed into a better us, into the image of the Son of God, whose seed is in us. It is from him we derive life. God wants to give us life but that life can only be found in his Son Jesus Christ (1John 5:11-12).

We cannot seek God by self-effort, we have to seek him because we love him and that love is generated by the Holy Spirit given to us (Romans 5:5). So when you seek God, recognise it is the operation of the Holy Spirit in you which made it happen.

And when you are not setting your heart to seek God, put it to your lack of response to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. That means we have the choice to seek God or not as Christians, it all depends on our relationship with the Holy Spirit. The light of the Christ’s presence burn away the tendencies of the flesh, but because we have been trained over time to yield to the flesh we still have possibility to turn back to our old ways even as Christians.

But that option fades more and more as we train our senses to choose the good and reject evil (Hebrews 5:14), and as we learn more and more to fixate on the grace of God and walk by it. Jesus was described in a book of prophecy as having been trained to choose the right thing by his diet, the influences he is exposed to (Isaiah 7:14-15).

If we associated with the faithful, with the seekers of God, that emphasise those qualities in us as Christian, but if we choose to associate with the faithless it de-emphasises the new life in us. No wonder we are instructed to not neglect the assembling of one another together (Hebrews 10:24-25), so that we can be stirred to good works, to positive expressions in our lives, that we might be helped to set our heart to seeking God.

 

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