February 10, 2018

Pursue God Graphic

A lot of believers find themselves asking God “what’s next?”

They’re saved, living a “holy-enough” life, but they don’t know what to do next. They want more spiritually, but don’t necessarily know how to pursue God.

No one is teaching them what to do with their zeal and passion. The Church isn’t teaching them how to practically live out their faith. Leaders aren’t showing them how to use their faith to overcome circumstances. No one is teaching them how to pray and get results. They aren’t being taught how to balance the intersection of spirituality and humanity. Their church leaders and friends don’t teach them about seeking, pursuing, submitting to and discovering God for a lifetime.

So, many people get saved, are on fire for God, but end up turning away from Him. Not because they never wanted God, but because they didn’t know what to do or how to use their faith to pursue Him. In essence, their faith became ineffective and boring to them.

If this is you, don’t fret.

I am here to tell you that there is nothing about the kingdom of God that is boring and there is hope. When you dedicate your life to pursuing God and discovering His glory, His riches, and your identity in Him – you will remain in a place of constant fascination and awe!

Woohoo! Our God is a God who always gives us more to discover, more to learn, more ways to grow, and more things to experience. For every question you have, God has an answer. But that answer may require some seeking.

So if you’re reading this and are thinking I’m either crazy or way too excited about this topic (I admit, I am both), then keeeeep on reading.

How do I start seeking God?

The pursuit of the true and living God, Creator of heaven and the earth, Giver of life, starts with accepting Jesus Christ, Yeshua.

God, in all his loving kindness, sent his Son, Jesus, to come to Earth to bear your sins. Those mistakes you’re ashamed to talk about. Those voids that you try to fill. That hurt that you can’t overcome. That emptiness that never leaves. Jesus came to restore all that.

But most importantly, Jesus came to earth in God-form, completely faultless and blameless, to give you full access to God.

You hear that? FULL ACCESS TO GOD! No limitations and no boundaries. God has gifted us with Himself, and Jesus paid the full price for that gift.

So the first step to pursuing God is accepting the one who paid the price so we could commune with God personally: Jesus.

Accepting Jesus is so simple! It’s all about your heart and your belief. You must believe that Jesus is the savior of the world, repent and turn away from your past life, and choose to follow God with all your heart. Ask God to come fill your life with his presence and power and if your heart is truly in it, God will meet you right where you’re at!

To learn more about Jesus, how to accept him, and salvation, click here (article), here (article), here (video) and here (video).

There is joy in pursuing God

The Bible makes it very clear that the mysteries of God are hidden; to truly get the fullness of God, one must seek after them. This is why so many scriptures emphasize the importance of seeking God diligently, with all of our hearts.

“Mysteries [of God] aren’t things that are hidden from us, they are things that are hidden FOR us.” – Corey Russell, The Glory Within, Page 75

In other words, pursuing God is like a game of hide-and-seek that God always lets you win.

Pursuing God is like a game of hide-and-seek that God always lets you win. -@azanishelise Click To Tweet

God doesn’t hide himself to make our journey with Him difficult. He hides his mysteries because we, His people, should find joy in the pursuit of His mysteries and the discovery of His glory. One of my new favorite authors, Corey Russell from the International House of Prayer, compared our pursuit of God to an Easter egg hunt (don’t freak out if you don’t like Easter egg hunts, this is a mere example).

“A father doesn’t try to prove his superiority by hiding the Easter eggs in impossible-to-find places. He hides them so his kids will experience the excitement of the search and the delight of the discovery. The same is true of hide-and-seek. The point is to be found. Our Father is no different. He wants us to experience the excitement of searching for Him and the delight of finding Him. God hides to be found.”

Corey Russell, The Glory Within, Page 75

Reading this passage just set me on fire 🙂 I used to LOVE hide-and-seek as a kid! My sister is older than me, so when she would finally call it quits on our hide-and-seek games I would be SO sad. Even if the game took a long time; even if she hid in difficult-to-find places – I never got tired of the game because there was so much fun in seeking and finding her!

If the game of hide & seek went on too long, she would always give me hints to make sure I found her (because that is the point of the game, right?). If she saw that I was looking whole-heartedly but taking too long, going in the wrong direction, or simply struggling to find her, she may make a noise in the closet so that I get closer to discovering her.

In the game of hide-and-seek, my big sister never left me high and dry… Because the whole point of the game was to find! I never got worried or scared when I couldn’t find my sister because I knew that she wouldn’t stay hidden forever. As long as I was looking for her, she would eventually come out from her hiding spot.

God is the same way! When he sees us seeking Him wholeheartedly, he will point us in the right direction to make sure we find what we are searching for. We should not wonder whether God will reveal himself or how he’s going to do it. Our sole focus should be to seek God and watch him uncover himself in miraculous ways.

But imagine playing a game of hide and seek where the people who are “seekers” give up after only 2 minutes! Well, that would defeat the whole purpose of the game because the goal is to enjoy the pursuit and to keep seeking until we find!

God is the same! Some people served God for 6 months, 2 Years, 10 years or 30 years and got tired of seeking so they tapped out. But the whole point of our salvation is to live a life of seeking Him, and to find extraordinary joy and treasure in not just seeking, but discovering God’s mysteries as we seek! We can’t grow weary and tap out because our wonderful and miraculous God has more to show us…IF we continue our pursuit of Him.

Reverse hide-and-seek is not God’s plan

Many Christians think God is supposed to be seeking us.

They believe that God is supposed to try to get our attention. And that IF he does enough to impress or “woo” us, THEN we can choose to follow Him and live for Him. They think that God needs to take the first step. And they’re right. He already took the first step when he sent Jesus. Now it’s our turn to respond to the call!

God does not owe us anything, and we are not doing Him a favor by choosing to live for Him. -@azanishelise Click To Tweet

God does not owe us anything, and we are not doing God a favor by choosing to live for Him. He is doing us a huge favor by sending us Christ and allowing us the ability to seek and discover Him. We need to humbly recognize the amazing opportunity that God has set before us and begin to pursue a life with Jesus.

How do I get and maintain my hunger for God?

Being hungry and on fire for God sounds good and all. But the circumstances of life have a way of throwing water on your fire and slowing down your pursuit of God.

So how do you ensure you’re in a place where you’re always wanting more of Him? I’m still discovering answers to this daily, weekly and monthly, but here are a few things that will help.

Make your God-decision and stick with it

A lot of people can’t seek God wholeheartedly because they haven’t made a decision to truly live for him and believe his Word.

If you’re still on the fence about living for God, then your hunger can only go so far because, truly, you don’t want all of God, just the parts of Him that align with the way you want to live.

Furthermore, we can’t be on the fence about what’s right and what’s wrong. In the words of the wise Dr. Sanders, “God is right, and I am wrong.” Period.

God is right. I am wrong. - Dr. Sanders @azanishelise Click To Tweet

We have to make a decision that even if the world thinks we’re crazy, even if everything doesn’t fully make sense to us, even if it seems like no one else believes like you do, that you will choose God’s way.

As my Pastor, Steve Gray, would say: We can’t give ourselves another option outside of God. We have to choose to go God’s way.

Once you get out of the place of indecision, God can move in your heart and life. But we cannot be lukewarm or on the fence. That’s one of the biggest things that stifle your pursuit of God.

Don’t wait to “feel” like pursuing God

We can’t base our pursuit of God on how we feel in the moment.

We can’t base our pursuit of God on how we feel in the moment. -@azanishelise Click To Tweet

How do you think a marriage can last 50+ years? Is it because they wake up feeling like serving their spouse every day? Or because the feeling they had 50 years ago never dwindled or changed?

Absolutely not! Covenant relationships are about a commitment, not necessarily a feeling. We can’t wait to “feel” God to start seeking after Him. We must walk by faith on his Word that says…

  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they shall be satisfied. – Matthew 5:6
  • But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. –Hebrews 11:6
  • Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. –Psalm 105:4

I love when I’m spending time with God, or at work, or in my car and I can feel God stirring inside of me. That’s amazing. But there are times when I can’t “feel” Him. But because his Word says so, I know He’s still right there, waiting to be pursued by me.

Discipline yourself: Your discipline becomes your hunger

A sad reality that I’m still facing (LOL) is that no one becomes who they’re destined to be by happenstance. The greatest leaders who ever walked this earth were intentional about their growth. They showed how serious they were by disciplining themselves. Through discipline, they became who they were destined to be, and did what they were called to do.

No one becomes who they’re destined to be by happenstance. It takes discipline and intention. -@azanishelise Click To Tweet

If there is something we want to start doing naturally, without thought, then we must first discipline ourselves in that thing until it becomes natural to us.

For example, if you want to be an intercessor whose prayers come to pass, then you first need to discipline yourself in prayer. You may have to schedule out times to pray or intentionally plan to do it. Praying may be unnatural at first, but if you commit to praying consistently, that discipline will become natural.

You see what I mean?

I think sometimes we make pursuing God too much about our feelings, when God has called us to be disciplined, which often goes beyond how we feel in the moment. As my Pastor talked about a few weeks ago, God has called us to be disciples of Christ. To be a disciple, we must be disciplined. When we feel a tension between who we are and who we know we can be, often times it is our discipline that is lacking.

Remain Humble and Teachable

Humility helps us receive instruction, revelation, correction, etc. from God because we realize we don’t know it all and don’t have it all together. When we’re humble, we are, in turn, teachable. Our hearts are open to what God has to say because we realize we need to be taught and trained by Him to advance in his Kingdom.

A few scriptures to meditate from Proverbs 13:

  • 10 Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise. Proverbs 13:10
  • 13 People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed. 14 The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death. Proverbs 10:13-14
  • 18 If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored. Proverbs 10:18

I know it’s a touchy subject, but you need accountability in your life. You need hungry leaders (who you submit to!) to teach you, correct you, lead you, discipline you and impart what is needed to you. There’s nothing wrong with having to be taught by other people, if what they’re teaching is biblical. In fact, a majority of the things I write on my blog are, in one way or another, rooted in what one of my spiritual leaders along the way has taught me or imparted to me.

Yes, it’s great to hear from God directly, and I believe that we all should! But sometimes the wisdom you’re looking for won’t come from the soft, still voice from God, it will come in the form of a conversation with a godly mentor or the preaching of your pastor.

God uses people to teach us and correct us, and we must be humble enough to receive from them.

Get around hungry people!!!!

One of the best and easiest ways to get hungry for God is to surround yourself with other people who are hungry for Him! It’s no secret by now that who you hang around has an influence on you, so put yourself in a position to be influenced in a positive way by getting around Godly people.

Let’s pursue God people!!!!!

Salvation is so much more than a moment when we attain eternal life It’s about living a life, right here and right now, that glorifies God. It’s about spending our lives seeking and discovering all of who He is only to get even more of Him after our earthly death. This comes through prayer, meditating on His word, and connecting with a community of like-minded believers.

Pursuing God starts with a pure heart – a heart that longs to understand the ways of the world and the God who created them.

It’s fueled by a hunger – a hunger to receive the deep knowledge, wisdom and revelation that only God can give.

It comes from a humility – a humility rooted in the revelation of how BIG God is and how small we are.

It’s time to pursue God and go deeper in Him. Think about all the questions you have. About life. About your future. About society. About your family. And imagine God revealing those secret mysteries to you. The answers we want and the things we desire come when we seek Him with everything we’ve got. It’s not an obligation, it’s an OPPORTUNITY to know Him more.

Ask God for a greater level of wonder, fascination and awe of Him. Ask Him to fuel the fire inside of you to burn bright. Ask Him to make you hungry for the things He is hungry for. Ask Him to transform your life in a way that you never imagined until now. Ask Him to show you His glory. Ask Him to help you be obedient to His Word. And watch Him move mightily as you ask, seek and knock. Surely, if we seek, he will uncover what it is we are looking for, and then some.

Meditate on these scriptures:

  • Psalm 42: 1-2: As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
  • Acts 17:24-27: “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man[f] he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.
  • Psalm 14:2: The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
  • Proverbs 8:15-17:”By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; 16 by me princes govern, and nobles—all who rule on earth. 17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
  • Lamentations 3:22-26: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
  • Ephesians 1: 16-19: “I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!”
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