Seek Him 3. With your body or strength
Key Text: Jeremiah 29:13 and Mark 12:30.
When you picture a man of God, what comes to mind? Generally it is a picture of a man who for some odd reason has a long beard who dresses a little off and floats half a meter off the ground right?
And so how can we and non-floating, relatively well dressed individuals ever get there?
Some of us have a semi-gnostic view of the world. Which is everything Spiritual is good and everything material is bad. Therefore the only way I can truly become a man/woman of God is to deny every aspect of myself.
This simply is not the case, and in fact may lead you further away from God and not closer to him. Let’s look at this tonight
We are concluding our series called seek Him tonight looking at seeking God with our body or strength.
We have seen that if we seek God we will find Him.
In week one we saw that this is a matter of conviction - seeking God with our inner man; a matter of core values
In week two we saw that it is also a matter of spirit - seeking God in trust,obedience and prayer - a spiritual seeking.
Tonight we will see that this is a physical reality as well.
We are coming from the verse in Jeremiah 29:13 which states that if we seek God… We will find Him.
The promise is simply this church; our pursuit of God results in us finding Him, He promises us this.
Tonight if you have your Bibles please turn with me to Mark 12:30. This verse is found when Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment, He answers by quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5. Many of us are quite familiar with it, so let us read.
30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
Love God church with all your strength is the call here; what does this mean and what does this look like?
Well the first thing we have to realise when addressing this reality of seeking God with our body or strength is…
We are a body
Hate to break this to you so late in the game, but you are a physical being with physical needs and limitations. Your body affects you I don’t know if you have noticed this?
The word that is used in the both the Old and the New Testaments have at its core the idea of might. In other words our effort.
Seeking God people takes physical effort. It requires our whole being our mind, our soul and our body. The physical effort we will put in.
Let me give you an example; we are reading through the Bible in 6 days as a church in the end of April. This is no easy feat ask anyone who has done it before it requires huge amount of stamina and effort.
But the reward is there. Paul reiterates this when he says in 1 Timothy 4
8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.
Paul says they labour and strive, in another place Paul states that he beats his body into submission that he may lay hold of the prise that is in Christ Jesus.
Do not be fooled in any way church the Christian life takes effort.
But I have discovered something in the few short years that God has given me; anything of real lasting value takes effort.
Seeking God with our strength or our body is a commitment to endure no matter what the pain or the cost may be.
And it will take effort church; when we are tired in the morning and don’t feel like seeking God it will take effort. When we are tired in the evening and don’t feel like seeking God it will take effort.
When there is somewhere to serve and a need it will take effort.
We cannot hope to seek God if we are not willing to put in the graft.
Not only this church but
What we do in the body matters
Church we seek God with our body or strength because what we do in this physical body has impact on the spiritual and impact on our mind.
The Bible is full of reference to us keeping ourselves pure. Of our actions to follow our beliefs; why? Because the actions we do in the body matter.
Hebrews 12:1 calls us to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
We are pushed back with our seeking God if we are filling our lives with things that war against the seeking of God.
1 Peter 2:11 Peter warns the church;
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.
You see church that which we do in our bodies affects our perusing with our heart and soul.
I see that many of us see ourselves as multiple people. There is my spiritual side (the one I show to the people at church) and then there’s the other side of me.
The problem with this view is that, simply, you are not. You are a single person. So the more fragmented you view yourself the more issues you create for yourself.
I find it fascinating how much effort is spent by us crafting ourselves into something we are not. Especially as teenagers.
We don’t want people to see who we “really are” so we pretend to be something we are not and therefore hide ourselves from each other and then never find healing for the things that we are ashamed of and therefore further have to hide ourselves lest we be found out.
The irony is that you are not you sins, but your sins matter.
If we saw ourselves as unified beings, seeing that what we do in secret affects our public (no matter how good we are at hiding it) we would also be more willing to lean on others to find healing in our sins and our hurts.
Many of us have fallen into the trap of thinking well nobody is getting hurt so it doesn’t matter. This will just be my secret.
There is no such thing as a sin that doesn’t hurt – all sin leads to death and consequences. What you do in the body matters church.
If we just got the fact that we are a body with a mind and a spirit; all are connected and all are one. We would maybe have the courage to confront ourselves and live honestly with ourselves and others.
I think that is why James says in 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
Realise church that what we do whether in the secret place or in public matters. Therefore we must pursue God with our body and strength!
So church realise that the seeking of God is not a walk in the park it will take our effort, it will take our commitment to seek Him with all of ourselves, realising that we cannot hide any aspect of ourselves from Him, so let us surrender all of ourselves to Him and realise that the hope we have is not to hide but to live openly and honestly.
In this church I believe that we can find God, so how do we apply this tomorrow?
So we have seen that seeking God with our body and strength will require effort and honesty but how do we implement this tomorrow as we engage the real world?
Many of us have such a fear of becoming legalistic, that we abandon the reality of actually committing ourselves to practices of growth – which are given to us all over the Bible.
If we are going to pursue God with our body we are going to have to be disciplined in our seeking of Him.
And as a side, if we are going to succeed in any relationship a level of discipline will be needed. We are to put into practice things that will honour the relationship and not destroy it.
It is the same for our relationship with God. Put into practice things that will grow us in our understanding and relationship with God.
So practically speaking if we want to pursue God we must be disciplined about our pursuit of God.
In other words make it your goal to have regular and disciplined times with God.
So be disciplined, also
Pursuing God with our body, or strength means committing in our hearts to follow His desires for you. This means that with His help we must commit ourselves to follow him in purity.
We cannot do this on our own but need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, however, we can commit ourselves to fleeing the temptation that is around us.
Many of us face sin head on and fail, rather than resisting temptation and fleeing from it, we try to overcome it in our own strength.
Church if we are going to pursue God with our bodies we need to resist the temptation and flee from that which would ensnare us.
So be disciplined and flee temptations and finally...
Still be dependant
We have to balance the first two application, we can fall into a trap that our faith our seeking God all falls on us. This simply is not biblical. We have a part to play and we must play it. The reality is that all that i have discussed tonight is impossible without the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit and the empowering that He brings into our life.
In is done in light of what Christ has done on the cross and because of the plan that the Father has put in place.
So as we pursue God we realise that we are enable to do so by His help and power.
So church again we can find God, it will take us seeking for Him with all our heart (our deepest convictions), our soul (seeking Him in faith and trust) and finally our body (seeking Him in our effort and discipline).
But again as is promised in Jeremiah if we commit ourselves to do so we will find God!