In this ‘modern’ age we move on very quickly – mobile phones and computers are good examples - usually out of date even before we open the packaging. We very quickly start to look for the next new thing and get bored with the old. At the very least we give the old a new name to make it sound fresh (a trick commonly used by new government ministers when using ideas passed on to them by their predecessors)! While technologies do change, the Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that with regard to things that really matter ‘there is no new thing under the sun’ and in 1 Corinthians 10:13; ‘no temptation has taken you but such as is common to man’. To us however things that confront us often appear novel and particularly difficult because we think that they are unique to us (or ‘me’). Because it is ‘me’ (not someone else) we feel that there must be special reasons why this situation or temptation is especially difficult and that there must be excuses or reasons that apply just to ‘me’ that help to justify my actions or let me ‘off the hook’?
Thinking about a more recent past in 1996 my wife and I had a significant encounter with God. For me it was not a victory easily won. There was three months of seeking, stripping away preconceptions, sins and pride before He poured out His blessing on my life. I think that this was the nearest I have got to ‘seeking with all my heart’. During that time though we learned a number of other simple but profound lessons which were plain to us and many on similar journeys, but are easily forgotten in the next ‘new thing’. Some examples are:
- You can only walk your own journey – everyone’s journey is different and each of us has to seek God for ourselves – the process cannot be shortcut, God will not move on. If we try to carry baggage into the next stage of our walk it will be compromised and we will need to confront it in the end. Sometimes we try and compare our path with other people’s journeys or judge their journey or find excuses in our journey because of others. None of this works indeed the opposite is true. The only journey that we can walk with God is our own.
- Repentance as a way of life – not just for the repenting unbeliever but also for the church. Repentance and confession gives the devil nowhere to go with his accusations and lies. A good place to start is to find a real Christian friend (a God-appointed one is best and it may be someone very unexpected), agree with them that you can say anything to each other without judgement and then meet to share what needs sharing.
- God is not a corner shop. God doesn’t expect His children to turn up now and again with their needs and supplications and to get their answers and go away ‘fixed’. Although He is very gracious and does answer some of these prayers He really doesn’t want to work that way. It’s not about our needs it’s all about Him and our relationship with Him. He wants us to spend time – real quality time with Him. In our particular experience in 1996 some of this was in people lying on the floor maybe for a few hours with the Lord. This was real time for some conversation with Him – or just listening to Him or receiving from Him.
- The seeking process is not to satisfy some desire of the Almighty for us to ‘do time’ like a penance but because to know Him deeply we need the process for all kinds of reasons that can be quite individual to us. The result of earnestly seeking God’s face is to enter and deepen our relationship with Him.
Let’s bring to mind what God has taught us in the past and build on it whether its general principles like ‘seek my face’ or something specific like ‘going down this path will lead me into temptation and I must avoid it’.
Psalm 27:8 ‘When You said, Seek My face, My heart said to You, Your face, Lord, I will seek’.
Author: Chris Pearson
May God bless and enrich your life
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