“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13.)
It is commonly asked by Christians, “what is God’s will for my life?” I believe that all Christians should be so rooted in Jesus that we know who we are and what He is calling us into, but the fact that there is so much uncertainty reveals a church with a lack depth of relationship with God and what He is saying to us. Jesus is The Rock, (Matt 21:44,) and a life that is built upon Him can never be shaken or blown off-course. As true as this is, there is little evidence of this being a reality in the lives of a lot of Christians. The reason for this lack of knowledge of God and of ourselves is our shortcoming in understanding the full message of the gospel and the impact that this gospel should have upon our churches.
Because we have been sold a cheap version of the gospel where we do not have to follow Jesus and He only comes to bless us where we are, many people try to make God or Christianity an addition onto their own lives. Consequently, the prayers of the people are to make their own will happen in some area, usually involving getting what they want for their lives. These prayers are often unanswered because it is not what God is doing, and discouragement soon sets into the Christian’s life.
To seek God is not to ask for an addition to our existing life, but to abandon our lives to find Him. To seek God, we must come to Him with no agenda. He Himself is the agenda, and He is the answer. I have based my life upon seeking His heart, and as I come to Him with no agenda in worship and submission, He begins to tell me His agenda. He gives me revelation and shows me what He is doing. I have literally had to leave my life in order to pursue Him and go where He is going. The decisions that I have made seem like utter foolishness even to most of the church, and yet it Is in those decisions that I have found Him and grown closer to Him. These decisions they have come at great cost to what I have in the world, but the things I ask Him for are not the things of the flesh, but the things of Him. I appeal to know Him more, to see Him, to understand Him, and He has never refused these prayers.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?” (Luke 11:11.)
In Him is the fullness of the kingdom, and it is our job to pursue that. All my physical needs have been met without my asking. Wherever He tells me to go there has been provision without my begging God or having to manipulate people. He naturally provides in what He is doing, and yet we spend so much effort trying to get God to provide for what we are doing. Anything that we do that is of Him will naturally be sustained by Him, but that which we build ourselves can only be sustained by our own methods.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt 6:33.)
The understanding of what it is to seek God is missing from the lives of so many Christians and their churches. A church that is not built on Him will not need to seek Him, it will merely ask God to bless what they are doing. It will give lip service to God and make prayers to Him, but never really seek Him. The life of the person or church that genuinely wants to follow God, though, will be consumed with a passion and a desire to know and to follow Him wherever He is going. This is what it is to follow Jesus.
This is a lesson that the Israelites had to learn in Exodus. As they were led into the wilderness, God led them by a pillar of fire at night and a cloud of smoke during the day.
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” (Ex 13:21-22.)
Once the Israelites had left Egypt, they had no direction and no purpose except for the presence of God. As they sought Him and established a tabernacle to sacrifice to Him and honour Him, He led the way with His presence. His presence guides His followers today in the same way. He is the direction. Again, we do not ask Him His will for our lives so much as we abandon our lives to follow Him, following His presence and seeking His face. When He stops, we stop, when He moves, we move. All this is impossible and alien to us if we do not cultivate an intimate relationship with God. Following Him must become the purpose of every Christian’s life.