Seeking God and the Things Above

With all my heart, I desire every person I encounter to have a passion for God.  Even after years of reading and studying scripture, I have yet to say that my desire for have Him has drained. All of my prayers could add up to a great amount of time, and yet that couldn’t even match what God truly deserves, neither His eternal essence.

Seeking God is of infinite importance and it should be the primary desire in every believer. The things God wants us to seek have no end in their abundance. Joy overflows all who seek God and the riches of His goodness.

The strange paradox of seeking God however, is that in order to seek after God He must first reveal Himself. A great portion of our use of the word “seek” means to find that which is lost or hidden from our sight, but seeking God is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit’s illumination. In Psalm 145:3, David pours out His praise for our One True God saying, “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.” The Hebrew word for unsearchable in this text is חֵ֑קֶ אֵ֥ין (en heqer) which means “impossible to find.” Seeking the things that are above apart from the help of God is a search that is vain. Once God reveals Himself, only then can one begin to seek after Him.

When God says that me must seek after Him, it doesn’t necessarily mean to seek after something lost, but to draw nearer to the throne of God. As people we lack the wisdom, faith, and understanding that we so desperately need. It can only be given to believers when they seek after Heavenly things. As fighters never cease to perfect their techniques, so must believers never cease to perfect their lives with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In Colossians 3, Paul gives clear instructions to Christians as to how we must seek God as well as seeking after the things He has in store. God wants us to seek Him, but in order to do so we must be willing to sacrifice our inner being. He is a God who is holy, and likewise He expects us to be holy. If we wish to seek Him, we must become like Him. If we want to think in the same way He does, we must seek His wisdom with fear and trembling. Those who are ready to make such sacrifices ultimately please God, and are therefore ready for a path that will bring great delight to Him.

1) Set Your Mind on God

Beginning from Colossians 3:1 (ESV) it says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above...” So immediately God makes it clear through Paul that He desires for  all who have been given new life through Christ to seek after Him. He specifically desires for His children to strive for what is above. What is significant about that which is above? It is not just because it is referring to the Heavenly Kingdom, but it has to do with a person who is above. The verse continues: “…where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

Though it seems very straight forward, many people make a serious mistake of seeking God in every place, except for where He actually is. It is in our human nature to run from God, so it makes sense that the unregenerate mind would make foolish mistakes. As for those who are new in the faith, they are typically misled in false doctrines and teachings, which are taught by wolves hoping to make the sheep go astray. The worst is when experienced, God-fearing believers… fall for the deceptions of Satan.

Keep in mind that Satan not only knows God, but also believes in who He is. That is why we must be careful that we don’t become like the devil, in where we believe to know God, yet we deceive ourselves. We know we seek God when our hearts are set on His words, His teachings, and His life rather than on vain idols. We know we seek God when our understanding of theology becomes richer. We know we seek God when our greatest pleasures come from the deepest places of prayer in our lives. When our lives are focused on the true God, that is when we can begin to seek Him.

2) Strive for Perfection

I cannot express how grieved I become when a person’s excuse for sinning is this: nobody’s perfect. As Mark Driscoll once put it (yes I’m quoting Driscoll; I take the meat and spit out the bones), that phrase is the equivalent of saying, “I’m a human being.”

There is an idea in the modern church, because of the modern understanding of psychology, that we are not to expect change in people’s lives and personalities after meeting Christ. People leave churches because a pastor will preach on the danger of sin and the benefits of sanctification. Many people instead seek for places where they don’t feel judged for their imperfect lifestyle and their lack of motivation to change it. Tell me how this kind of thinking among evangelicals is going to lead them to greater knowledge of God? How will they be propelled to new heights of God’s glory?

Now, please know that I understand the differences between a person who battles with sin yet stumbles in the fight, and someone who realizes the danger of the sin he or she holds on to but continues to live in it anyway. Those who have a lifestyle that is of the latter description are not truly seeking after God. Colossians 3:5 delivers a profound (and, if I may add, blunt) message to all Christians, “Put to death therefore all that is earthly within you…” Notice the language that God inspired Paul to write: death to earthly things within us. Could God’s attitude towards a carnal Christianity be any clearer?

The list of sins that Paul then gives in Colossians 3:5-11 include the following: sexual immorality, impurity, evil desire, idolatry, wrath, obscenity, malice, gossip, lying, prejudice, and racism. It is saddening to encounter self-professing Christians who commit these sins on a daily basis. Seeking after heavenly things demands total submission unto God. He demands that we walk in holiness, just as He is holy. Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:48 (ESV), “You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

3) Glorify God in Everything

A big problem that many Christians struggle with (myself included) is when we confuse our zeal for God’s glory with personal ambition. I have heard many Christian youths speak about how they want to pastor megachurches, lead worship in domes, and write books that will be on the New York Times Bestseller list. The strangest part is when they say this: “Don’t worry. It’s all to glorify God bro.” But does it really though? What does it mean to want to glorify God?

One of my favorite scriptures in the Old Testament is in Isaiah 6:8 (ESV) which says, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here I am! Send me.'” The strange part about this is that Isaiah would never be esteemed by anyone, but instead he would be ridiculed, persecuted, and eventually he would be killed for the prophecies which God had given him. According to tradition, Isaiah was sawn into two by the order of the king of Israel at the time, and the The Martyrdom of Isaiah says:

“He neither cried aloud nor wept, but his lips spake with the Holy Spirit until he was sawn in twain.”

With that in mind, the Scriptures says in Colossians 3:17 (ESV), “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Most people tend to think that it means something like this: whether you are drinking Starbucks’ lattes, frolicking in lily fields, or buy $1,000 purses (yikes)… do everything for God’s glory. I take it to mean this: God will make you want to do things you may not want to do, so make sure you do it for His glory.

My life is not about my honor or esteem. It is about God and His story of redemption. It is possible you might lose friends. It is possible that you will not have the wealthy life, or that comfortable retirement you wanted. It’s even possible that one you might be slaughtered mercilessly, painfully, and slowly so you could recant your faith in return of a quick death. Nevertheless, if are to seek God, and if we truly want to glorify Him, we must accept any call He gives us, even it when it may seem unpleasant and sometimes dangerous.

So, my brothers and sisters, I urge all of you to seek God. Look to the heavenly treasures above at all times. Remember all that which God commands of us to do: we must treasure Him, be blameless, and follow Him to the end. Even when Jeremiah witnessed the destruction of his beloved city and his holy temple, he could still boldy declare of the infinite beauty that comes from seeking God in Lamentations 3:25 (ESV), “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”

Soli Deo Gloria.

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