Seek Him 1 – With your whole heart
Key Text: Deuteronomy 4:29 and Jeremiah 29:13
As we start out this year I want to give you all the tools at my disposal to ensure growth in your life. To ensure that you know God and the goodness of His grace, both intimately and powerfully. That you grow in holiness and efficacy in your ministry.
This is the year that seek God. Now as I speak to fellow Christians I find no lack of intention, what I find is a lack of action and commitment. We tend to have the best intentions but it is the following through of those commitments that is our undoing.
And I guess that is where this series was birthed. One night as I couldn't sleep, and as my usual course of action is to do when I can't sleep, I prayed. It was in this prayer time that I was gripped by this thought, am I seeking God. As scripture calls me to seek Him; with my whole heart.
As per usual my random thought trains took over and I was asking what does it actually even look like to seek God with your whole heart, what does heart even mean, I wonder what them Old and New Testament writers had in mind when they wrote this… And so a sermon series and a spiritual journey was birthed.
Gladly this new commitment distracted me enough that I could go back to sleep and I rested well.
However, this series is the product of that question, how do I seek God in a way that he wants me to.
What was profound and the first discovery in this journey is…
If you have your Bibles please turn to Jeremiah 29:13. It is a short verse that we will look at, but the implication of this verse are Huge. In Jeremiah 29:13 it say,
“13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Again in Deuteronomy 4:29 it says
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
If you seek God with all your heart and soul, you will find Him. I was struck at the simplicity and profundities of this promise. God will allow us to find Him if we seek Him with our whole hearts!
The promise gives me a great sense of hope; God can be found! This in itself is a grace, this idea of an eternal and Spiritual God who is beyond our comprehension is able to be found by men is too profound and is something that we simply don't have the time to discuss but we can find God!
And so as we discover together what it means to seek Him, let us start together with the same hope, if we seek Him with all our heart, soul (and in week 3 we will look and our body) He will allow us to find Him.
Now, I must confess to you today that as a pastor I desire to come to you on a Sunday as preach as a sage, as someone who has already arrived, who is further along in the journey, and simply and humbly I am not. I am just a man who also desires to know God more.
I believe every pastor goes through this same temptation; and I see in the world that many a pastor falls into this sin that he is somehow more than human, that somehow he is closer to God that the rest of the congregation.
So I come to confess, I am not some holy man who knows and has completely searched the depths of the knowledge of God, I am a man who loves Jesus, who desires to know Him more, who has been called to serve His church… Just like each and everyone here who has called on the name of the Lord and been saved.
We journey together, but we journey with hope; if we seek Him we will find him, if we seek him with our whole heart.
So let's look at what that means.
So the promise is that we will find Him, the requirement or commitment on our side is to seek Him with our whole heart.
So what does that even mean?
Well to understand this we need to look at what the writers of the Old and New Testament meant when they wrote words like this.
I can tell you now it does not mean the beating organ in your chest that we understand physiologically. I.e. That organ which pumps blood through your body. They mean something deeper.
Both Old Testament and New Testament have the idea of the heart as the inner man, the center of our emotions and will, that what you are at the core of yourself. In other words your deepest convictions.
This is important because it is deeper than your feelings and it is more resolute that your choices.
Today's world everything rises and falls on the way we feel. I don’t feel in love anymore, I don’t feel like reading my bible I don’t feel like gym.
The emotional will has become that which drives everything else. This leaves us powerless to in act any changes in our lives.
Now there is something to be said about the emotional will, but it cannot be that which controls us. This is why the Bible calls us to seek God with our whole heart.
I'll put it this way, seek God with your inner man, with the deep convictions that drive you. Decide in the deepest core reality of who you are to seek God.
This means if I don’t feel like it, Well I am convinced about seeking God, there is no choice.
If I feel down, I am convinced that God is my goal, therefore I will push through and drive myself to find Him in spite of how I feel.
You see in the biblical understanding our heart drives everything, this is why Proverbs 4:23 says;
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
And Jesus says in Luke 6:45;
"A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."
These are the deep convictions that we hold and the core that drives our decisions. The issue we find ourselves in is that the world tells us to feel then do, the Bible says, decide then the feeling will follow.
Actions follow conviction, not feelings. Feelings are fleeting things that change with the wind, however what is decided upon in our core drives us.
With this in mind how do we apply this; how do we seek God?
Be convicted to know Him
Most of us the desire to know God more is simply that it is a desire with no conviction behind it. We have not convinced ourselves in the deepest part that knowing more about God and knowing Him intimately is the key to our life and hope, we have this as a nice idea without the drive to do anything about it.
So the application is simply be convinced enough to do something about it. Do you believe in your heart, in the depths of who you are that knowing God is what you truly need in your life? If you have there will be action committed to it even when you don't feel like it. You will seek Him in His word, because you are convinced that you need Him. You will put things in your life to know Him because you are convinced that you need Him.
Are you convinced that God is what you life truly need?
Be convicted to be known by Him
The next reality is to surrender yourself to him, to be convinced within yourself that the full surrender of yourself is what you truly need. I often find myself in the trap of thinking that I will just sort this one thing out and then go to God.
This shows us that we are not convinced within the core of ourselves that we need God and that Him knowing us fully is best for us.
I am amazed that I know God knows me, but I live like I can hide things from Him, this shows that I am not convicted to be known by Him. That I am not convinced within my inner being that surrendering all aspects of my life is the best thing for me. I am convinced that me running my life is the best thing for me.
So the application is simple in principle but deeply difficult in practice; I need to be in a constant and convicted place of surrender. Every aspect of my life must be known to Him and surrendered to Him. I will be honest with you; this is a conviction that I am working on all the time and going back and forth on often; but i am convinced that it is massively important for me to live by.
Be convicted to seek Him
All this is pointless unless we are convicted to actually seek after Him. If we have this all worked out up in our minds and have decided that these are the things that we need but do nothing about it we are deceived.
A conviction without actions is simply a good idea. We have to actively seek after Him, and here is probably the most practical reality of the message tonight. Are you convinced within your inner being that seeking after Him is the best thing for you? If so seek Him!
Look for Him when you go, look for Him when you lie down. Seek Him by daily filling your life with His Word, Seek Him in filling up the gaps of knowledge that you have about Him through study.
Decide to seek after Him! Tomorrow what are you putting in your life that will ensure that you are seeking after God?
Will you read His word even if you don't feel like it?
Will you desire to seek His will even if you feel like its hidden from you?
Will you desire to conform your life to His desires for you because you want to strip off anything that could get in the way of knowing Him more?
I want to give a firm challenge to you church tonight? Are you actually seeking God?
If you are the Bible gives us a beautiful promise He Will be found by you.
So you seeking is never in vein. The work that you put in tomorrow to know Him more will never be for nothing. The question we ask ourselves tonight is am I doing this with all my heart, with the deepest of convictions or is this a side project?
The your actions show you where your convictions lie.