Seek Him 2. With your Soul
Key Texts: Jeremiah 29:13 Deuteronomy 4:29 Deuteronomy 6:5 Mark 12:30
We are week two in our series seek Him, looking at our task to seek after God. Last week we saw that if we seek after God with all our hearts we will find Him! In other words when you seek God He shows Himself to us. It is never a fruitless journey to seek after God.
We saw that the heart was our inner man or our deepest convictions, tonight I want to look at what it might look like to seek God with you soul.
Deuteronomy 4:29 states
29 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.
Now let’s read this with another popular verse that Jesus quotes when he is asked what is the greatest commandment;
3Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.
4Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.a 5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
This is called the Shema and is the call for Israel to love her God to seek her and again heart is called into the equations as well as the soul and body. We will look at body next week. This week I week I want to ask the question how do I seek God with all my soul?
The reward of this again being the fact that if we seek God with our hearts (our inner man/convictions) and with our soul we will find Him.
What is the soul
What does this look like?
Both the Old Testament and New Testament have the same idea when they refer to the soul. It is your personhood or your life. The words themselves relate to someone’s appetite as well as someone’s existence. One commentator said this;
“…the term ‘soul’ expresses two main ideas. First, humans are by nature creatures of desires and ongings. Second, humans are living beings who eagerly seek to live but are unable to acquire or preserve life by themselves.”
It is the immaterial part of yourself – that which makes you you but is not related to the physical self.
I remember clearing walking in the room after my grandfather had died and seeing him lying on the bed, yet everything that was him was simply not there. It was a profound realisation that we are so much more than our bodies. There is an immaterial part to our self that exists with which we are to seek God with.
The reality is that everyone has a sense of this immaterial aspect of themselves. A part that they know deep down is not connected to this physical reality. In fact so fundamental is this sense that every culture and every people group in the world has developed a system of religion and a concept of the soul.
It is this Immaterial aspect of ourselves that we are to seek God with.
I believe there is a profound reality to us seeking God with our souls and it counters the dangers of last week’s emphasis.
You see we are to seek God with the immaterial part of ourselves, to seek Him by faith. I want to connect this term to the Biblical understanding of our Spirits; or Ru’ach or pneu’ma. Which is supported by most systematic theologians. These two realities (our soul and spirit) are connected somewhat in a biblical sense.
Both of these Scriptural realities have at its core the idea that we are more than a physical being. We are more than our convictions more than our desires, more than our feelings.
We are more than what we see. We have an immaterial part to ourselves and it is here that we are to seek God.
Now there are many people in the world that are “spiritual”. But this does not mean that they are seeking God with their soul.
As I have stated before almost every people group in the world has a concept of religion. But these people are (as the Bible puts it) spiritually dead. And are not seeking God with their souls.
So how do we seek God with our soul?
If you read in 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:4 Paul contrasts those who are spiritual and those who are fleshly. And the contrast is the ability to understand and stand on the promises and revelation of God.
It is by faith that we grasp the realities of God and the promises of God. This, although not illogical or unreasonable, doesoften go against our instincts and sometimes violates what makes sense.
Now again I am not saying that faith completely violates reason and logic, however, there is definitely an aspect of faith that calls us to look beyond the current reality that we find ourselves in.
I mean the trinity is one such example, it can make sense logically and philosophically but in its fundamental understanding is a mystery, God is three, God is one, God is diversity God is unity.
This is a trust reality, that we have to accept by faith, we have to seek God and understand him in our Spirit.
So it is by faith that we grasp these things. I love the testimony of people in this church that have held on to what God is doing by faith even when things look impossible. The reality of the walk of faith is that it is by faith.
The testimony of Scripture and the example of faith set by the stories in the Bible is people trusting God to lead them even when the odds were not in their favour even when there was no hope of succeeding.
The stories of the conquering of the land of Israel was a display of faith, Abraham trusting God for a son and in his old age was seeking God with our Spirit.
I can't tell you how God is leading more and more to simply trust Him beyond the reality of the situation. In terms of the health of my family, the call of God on my life, finance etc...
It is the act of looking past this reality to the realities that lie beyond this reality.
James reminds us that faith without action is dead. I will say that a faith, living Spiritually without us been committed to obeying God is just as fruitless. The words of Christ come to mind when he says in Matthew 7:21
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
The New Testament and the Old Testament is full of testimony of the reality of faith producing obedience.
It is a dangerous reality to find yourself in where your faith does not change your reality. Where your belief does not change your actions.
John goes as far as to say that if there is nothing coming from our love for God or belief in God we are deceived and the truth is not in us.
We too, if we are to seek God in Spirit (or with our soul), requires a seeking after God in obedience.
This is a process as God convicts us and leads us. God by His Spirit leading us and convicting us to follow after Him. But the question is are we living in obedience to His guidance and direction?
I Think this is a growth thing more than a perfection thing. I am not asking us to walk perfectly in obedience before God but rather to have a heart that desires to seek God more and more. A heart that humbly accepts correction and desires more and more to follow God in what He asks of me. A Desire to have a Christianity that is not comfortable but rather challenging and rich.
This is seeking God with our Spirit or soul.
We trust God we obey him and finally…
This might seem like an obvious reality of seeking God, but it is one we so often take for granted and I would argue that it is one that people often take for grated. Paul reminds the church to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians.
Prayer is our spiritual connection to God is our communication and it is the power we need to walk the spiritual life. Surgeon stated that
No man can progress in grace if he forsakes prayer.
Seeking God in Spirit is seeking him in loving honest and dependent prayer.
This is why Paul calls us to pray without ceasing.
I love the vividness of how Paul calls the church to pray, without ceasing. Do not give up on it. Do not hold back, give it your all. Commit yourself fully to sharing yourself in prayer with God constantly.
I believe more and more this is a constant communion with Him in the process of our day, and the formal quite time prayer. Both are necessary for growth and both are part of our seeking after God.
I believe that there is nothing too trivial nor to heaven for us not to bring it to the Lord in prayer.
I have also found the more that we spend constant and dedicated times with God the more we are open to His leading and guiding.
We have to be inevitable with this though. We cannot hope that it will somehow just happen it needs to be a conscience practice that we commit ourselves to.
It happens when we continually decide to bring ourselves to God in prayer as often as we can, in every situation call on Him for help, guidance, opinion, and simply conversation. The more we commit ourselves to do this the more we will find ourselves doing this.
Are you praying without seeking?
The reality is that if we seek God constantly in prayer he will be found by us.
So we ask the question tonight are we seeking God in spirit or with our soul? Are we trusting Him obeying Him and constantly going to Him in prayer.
If we commit ourselves to seeking Him He will be found by us.
Church God want us to find Him, will we seek with our heart and our souls?