Seeking Him Together for Spiritual AwakeningWhy Should You Seek the Lord?
Leslie Basham: The thing you’re seeking the most tells what’s in your heart.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: The earnestness with which we seek anything reveals the value that we place on what we are seeking.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, October 2.
“Seeking the Lord” is an important concept for Revive Our Hearts. It’s the name of a Bible study Nancy Leigh DeMoss co-wrote. There’s also a radio short feature called “Seeking Him.” And it was the byline for the recent conference, True Woman '12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening.
Why is seeking Him such an important concept for Revive Our Hearts? Nancy Leigh DeMoss will show you why it’s so important. We’ll hear a message she delivered just over a week ago at True Woman '12.
Nancy: Well, our theme this weekend is: "Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening." We have come together to seek the Lord.
I met a woman today who said, "I came all the way from . . ." It's escaping me right now, I think it was Texas. She said, “I came by myself.” But now she's not alone because we are seeking Him together.
Tonight, we want to talk about what it means to seek Him, and then we are going to take some time to do just that.
We don't want to just talk about seeking Him, we want to really seek Him. And so for these next few moments, I want to unpack some of my own meditations in recent weeks about seeking the Lord.
The first thing that struck me is, we were created to seek the Lord. That’s why we were made.
Acts chapter 17 tells us that "He made from one man every nation of mankind, that they should seek God in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him, and find Him" (v. 26–27 paraphrased).
Now, that says to me that God wants to be found. He's not playing hide and seek. His goal is not to hide Himself from us, though at times we may feel that He has hidden Himself. But His goal is to reveal Himself to us.
He is a God who makes Himself known. He wants us, He created us to seek Him and to find Him. In fact, the Scripture says that the Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
Just envision the eyes of the Lord tonight from heaven going to and fro throughout the whole earth and settling here on this Convention Center in Indianapolis. And looking and saying, "Is there anyone who understands? Is there anyone who seeks after Me?"
God is looking for those who seek Him. However, there's a problem. Ever since Genesis chapter 3 in the Garden of Eden, when the man and the woman turned their back on God, there's been a universal condition that the Scripture describes this way.
"In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek God." (Ps. 10:4) In fact, all his thoughts are, "There is no god."
You say, "Well, I'm not one of those people who says there is no God. I wouldn't be a wicked person." Romans 3 says, "None is righteous, no, not one" (v. 10). No one understands; no one seeks for god.
The fact is, we cannot see God, and we have no desire to see God, apart from His initiative. The fact is, when we are born, we are born with spirits that are dead. We are separated from God. We have no heart for God, no interest in God, no inclination toward God. We cannot seek Him apart from being quickened and awakened by His Spirit to seek after Him.
Next year in May, this coming year, I'll be celebrating my fiftieth spiritual birthday. I came to know the Lord at the age of four. It's my earliest memory. I look at four-year-olds today and I think, "Can four-year-olds really get saved?"
But I believe God did call my name and drew me out and chose me and drew me to Himself. And you’re thinking, "Oh, how sweet, a little four-year-old girl chose Jesus." No, I was dead in trespasses and sin, had no appetite for God, no heart for God, no inclination for God, but He reached down from heaven and chose me.
He took the initiative to quicken my heart to want to seek Him. If you are a child of God, it's because God first sought for you and gave you a desire to seek Him. If God didn't first seek us, no one would ever seek after Him. In fact, we are prone to seek everything but Him. The good news is that we have a seeking God.
Remember back again in Genesis 3 after Adam and Eve sinned and in their shame and their guilt they hid from God? God came seeking Adam and Eve. He called out to them. He took the initiative to be reconciled to have a relationship with Him.
I'm so thankful that we have a seeking God and that our seeking after God is always in response to His initiative.
Let’s get started. Number one: What does it mean to seek the Lord?
I looked up the word seek in the dictionary this week, and it said "to seek means to go in search or quest of; to make inquiry; to try to find or discover by searching or questions." That's what it means to seek.
Now, to seek something, to seek the Lord, implies recognition of a need. You don't seek for something that you don't need or that you don't lack or that you aren't missing. So, positively, what does it mean to seek the Lord? I've been meditating on this, and here are some thoughts that have been on my heart.
To seek the Lord means to prize Him so much that we proactively set out to know Him and to walk with Him. We say there's something so incredibly value about Him that He is worth dropping other things to seek after.
To seek the Lord means to incline our hearts toward Him; to live in a conscious awareness of His presence with our hearts tuned to listen to Him. It's kind of sitting forward on the edge of our seats, to hear what God will say. It's to listen to Him, not only to listen to Him, but to respond to Him, inclining, leaning into the Lord, inclining our hearts toward Him.
To seek the Lord means to inquire of Him; to seek His direction, His wisdom, His understanding, His perspective.
When we have a problem, the question is, where do we turn for answers? Do we turn immediately to the Lord and seek Him above and before all other sources of help? Do we ask Him, "Lord, what should I do?" And when He reveals through His Word and His Spirit what we should do, do we do it? That's what it means to seek the Lord.
I love those phrases in the Old Testament where it says particularly of David, as the king, a brilliant military strategist and leader and authority, but it says David inquired of the Lord. Time after time after time, when he didn't know what to do, he lifted his eyes heavenward and said, "Lord, what should I do?"
In the book of 1 Samuel, he asked the Lord in one situation, "What should I do?" And the Lord gave him direction. The exact same situation presented itself again, and David inquired of the Lord.
I'm thinking, if God gave the direction the first time, I might have just assumed the second time around the answer was going to be the same. But the answer wasn't the same. God said, "No, this time I want you to do it differently." So David in wisdom, inquired of the Lord.
Now, think I about another king in the Old Testament, King Asa. The Scripture says that in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but he sought help from physicians. There's nothing wrong with doctors, but the question is, where do you turn first to get your answers, to get your help?
Do you inquire of the Lord? To seek the Lord means to desire Him, desire Him for who He is—not just for what He can do for you or for what He can give you; but just because you want Him, to desire him.
To seek the Lord means to set our hearts and our hope on that which is eternal rather than that which is temporal.
The fact is, we are all seekers. We seek after those things that matter most to us. The question is, who or what are you seeking? And the answer to that question might differ from day to day, or within a few hours in the course of a day. But it's a question I find myself asking myself more these days as I've been preparing for this event. Who or what am I seeking?
- What am i pursuing after?
- What is my heart inclined toward?
- Where am I inquiring?
- Where am I looking for answers?
- What do I prize?
- What do I desire?
- What am I seeking after?
- Am I seeking Him?
Now, let's think about a second question here for a moment. How are we to seek the Lord?
The Scripture gives us a lot of insight into how to seek the Lord. Let me bring up three of those considerations.
Number one: We are to seek Him intentionally.
First Chronicles 22 tells us "set your mind and heart to seek the Lord, your God" (v. 19).
Seeking God is not first and foremost an emotion. Rather, it is a conscious, deliberate choice to set our affections, our mind, our heart, our attention on Him.
It's an intentional focused effort. We are to set our minds to seek the Lord. It's proactive, not just passive, "Oh yeah, I'm seeking the Lord." No, it's something you set your heart, you set your mind to do.
And then we are to seek Him as Psalms says, with our whole heart. Whole-heartedly. Earnestly.
Some of you know what it is for you or your mate to be earnestly looking for a job, to be out of work and to need a job. And you're intentional and whole-hearted about this pursuit, or maybe you have lost something that's really precious to you, a precious possession. You seek for it whole-heartedly; you seek for it earnestly.
A number of years ago I was sitting down with a friend at her kitchen table with a contractor who was talking with me about the possibility of building a house. I didn't have a house, so we were meeting at a friend's home. Diane had served us up apple pie, and I noticed that my friend Diane kind of lost attention, got distracted from what was happening at her kitchen table. She was not interested in the apple pie, not paying attention to the conversation, and did not say anything for a while. She was just in and out of the room, and then she finally told us that her three-year-old child, Jordan, was missing.
She hadn't seen him for an hour or more. She didn't know where he was. She looked through the house, looked in the yard, and finally, "I don't know where Jordan is."
She couldn't think of anything else. And at that point, nor could we. The apple pie was forgotten, talking about building a house was forgotten, friends, neighbors, a lot of us live in that area, we came together. There was an all-out search party for Jordan for hours until we found the little guy sleeping in the woods in the next piece of property. He had just wandered off. But I thought that woman was earnest about seeking.
We saw another picture recently. Those of you who watched either the Republican or Democratic National Conventions, did you see some earnestness in those conventions? Oh, my goodness!
The party delegates gather together to nominate and promote a candidate for President of the United States. And for days on end there was no shortage of enthusiasm. We’re talking long sessions, a picture of fervency and of intensity.
How many of us seek the Lord with all our hearts?
Scripture says, "You will seek the Lord your God and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deut. 4:29).
We are talking here about a concerted effort, a focused effort. Not a casual glance in God's direction every once in a while. Let me suggest that the earnestness with which we seek anything reveals the value that we place on what we are seeking. So the question might be raised based on how earnestly we seek God. What does that say to the world around us about the value we put on God?
And then the Scripture tells us we are to seek the Lord in His strength, seek His presence continually—intentionally, whole-heartedly, and continually.
What does it mean to seek the Lord continually? I think it means every day to seek the Lord. I think it means to seek the Lord all day throughout the day, from the time we wake up in the morning until we pillow our heads at night and throughout the entire course of our lives in every season.
While we're young. We have some teenage girls here. Girls, it's time for you to seek the Lord. Don't wait until you're old. It also means seeking Him when you get busy with college, with a job, with lots of little children, and then lots of grandchildren. It means in every season of life to seek the Lord continually.
I think to seek Him continually means to seek Him in the good times and in the bad.
Some of you are in a good place in your life right now. Maybe your marriage is growing and you're experiencing God's blessings in your life. Maybe you have just married off your son or your daughter to the godly mate that you prayed for for years. Could I say when things are going well, don't become complacent?
Don't forget to seek the Lord. You need Him now as much as ever. Prosperity is not a friend of grace in most of our lives. That's when we are prone to become complacent. This is the time to seek the Lord.
There are others in this place many, many who are in a difficult season of your life. Maybe there's intense financial pressure or health issues or your family is falling apart. Maybe you are here with some fresh, raw wounds.
There's a woman here who lost her husband suddenly just two weeks ago. She felt God wanted her to be here to seek the Lord. She's hurting. There's another woman here who buried a five-month-old grandson on Tuesday afternoon—two days ago. She left early yesterday morning, traveled all day so she could get here from northern California to seek the Lord.
These women are hurting, but they're not letting adversity turn them away from the Lord. They're letting it push them to seek Him in the midst of their pain.
The psalmist said, "In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord" (Ps. 77:2).
I was reading just this morning in my quiet time 2 Samuel 21, it says, "In the days of David there was a famine year after year," and then what does it say? "David sought the face of the Lord." (see v. 1). And when he did, God revealed the reason for the famine and what they were to do about it.
Maybe there's a famine in your life right now. You are in that dry and weary land where there is no water. Can i say that desperation can be the impetus to seek the Lord.
That's why trouble, trouble of every description, can actually be a blessing. It can be a gift if it motivates us to seek God in a way we might not otherwise have done.
Over the past eighteen months, I’ve had some desert experiences in my own life, some relational strife and struggles and things I have had no clue how to deal with.
I felt so helpless, so burdened, so heavy-hearted at times, but I’ll tell you what it's done. It has caused me to seek the Lord more intentionally, more whole-heartedly, more earnestly, more desperately. Seek the lord.
Now, I want to talk for a few moments here about what keeps us from seeking the Lord. And, let me just ask, what keeps you from seeking the Lord?
So, let me get you started by sharing some things that often keep me from seeking the Lord with all my heart, some hindrances to seeking Him earnestly.
Here is a first one, and that's self-sufficiency. There is no sense of need, no sense of desperation.
It makes me think of the church of Laodicea in Revelation chapter 3, where Jesus said to them you are rich, you say of yourselves, "I am rich, increased with goods and i have need of nothing." (v. 17).
Most of us would not say that, but aren't there times when we live that way? "I'm doing okay. There's nothing desperate going on in my life."
Here’s something else that keeps me from seeking the Lord a lot, and that is distractions.
Now, I have to tell you, my picture is in the dictionary next to the word distractible. That's me. I'm telling you, when I go to have my quiet time, that's when I get super distractible. I get this whole new burden for house cleaning when I’m sitting in that quiet time. No other time do I ever have that burden, except when I'm trying to quiet my heart to seek the Lord.
Noise and clutter. We are a culture that is entertaining and amusing ourselves to death.
And here’s a fourth thing that keeps me and perhaps you from seeking Him. I just summarize it under the word substitutes. Substitutes. Competing desires and appetites and passions. Becoming enamored of other things. Not necessarily bad or sinful or wrong things, but things that we desire and long for more than we desire Him.
We have such a tendency to be drawn toward things that are temporal rather than eternal. Things that can be felt and seen, rather than things that are invisible.
How do we identify what are the substitutes for God in our lives? Well, ask yourself:
- What do I long for?
- What do I crave?
- What do I invest my time in?
- What do I pursue?
- What do I meditate on?
- What do I dwell on?
- What will you go to great lengths to obtain or avoid?
- What do you devote your time, energy, and efforts to?
What are some of the other things that people seek, things that can be substitutes for seeking Him? I just made a short list here:
- stuff, possessions
- physical beauty
- having a great figure
- relief, escape from pressure
It's why so many people turn to entertainment or shopping or food or alcohol. They are substitutes.
- seeking after approval
- longing for a mate.
Seeking earnestly for a mate. Some of you have a mate, and what you are longing for is a different mate or for your mate to be different.
We seek to fill the empty places of our hearts with things, with substitutes for God, which by the way, there’s a word for that in Scripture. They are idols, aren't they?
And the problem is, if you fill up with junk food, you lose your appetite for the real feast. Self-sufficiency, business, distraction, substitutes.
A few other things that keep people from seeking the Lord, fear, fear of intimacy, fear of getting too close, bitterness, disappointment with God or others. And then for some in this room, you know what keeps you from seeking the Lord? It's the fact that you have no relationship with Him.
You don't know it. You don't have a heart for Him, an appetite for Him. You don't desire Him. I believe God brought you here because He wants to pursue your heart and relationship with you.
Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us what it means to seek the Lord. She delivered that message just over a week ago at True Woman 12: Seeking Him Together for Spiritual Awakening.
We’d like to send you this message from the conference on CD. We all drift away from seeking the Lord with all our hearts. When you realize you’re not seeking Him like you want, you can pull out this CD and re-direct your thoughts toward Him.
When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size, we’ll say thanks by sending you the CD. Ask for it when you call 1-800-569-5959. You can also order it by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. While you’re at our site, you can also find out how to order this message on DVD. Again, it’s ReviveOurHearts.com.
Tomorrow we’ll hear part two of Nancy’s opening message from True Woman '12. She’ll tell you the story of two women who sought the Lord with all their hearts. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.
|The Reward for Seeking Him||Oct. 3, 2012|
|Sign up for our Email Newsletter||Subscribe to our Podcast|