The Inconvenient Truth About Pursuing God

{By Ellery Sadler}

Pursuing God goes beyond Bible study. It goes beyond service. It means facing the inconvenient truth that on your own, you aren’t good enough. And remembering that day in and day out. But even more than remembering you aren’t enough, to pursue God well, you have to remember that He is.

It is so easy to ease into apathy; so convenient to stay where we’re comfortable. The issue is, when we’re comfortable we feel like we’re in control. When we feel like we’ve got this thing called life figured out – we’ve got a great girlfriend or a job we love or good grades – we begin to feel like we don’t need God. I mean, hey, we’ve done pretty well on our own right?

Wrong.

Oswald Chamber’s, in his devotional My Utmost for His Highest, dares his readers to pray to be desperate for Jesus. I like a challenge, so I accepted his dare and began to pray that God would make me desperate for Him. I didn’t exactly realize what that would entail. Desperate means frantic, at your wits end, when you’ve tried everything and nothing works, when you have nothing left to lose. It’s that creeping feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’ve done your best but it isn’t enough. Being desperate for Jesus still means being desperate.

So I prayed. I didn’t feel anything change. My grades were still good, my freelance writing job was going well, I was making new friends. Hey, this whole desperately pursuing God thing wasn’t so bad after all. I kind of imagined giving Mr. Chambers a smug smile. But I love this about God: He never does what’s expected. I pictured some sort of instantaneous change in my soul when I prayed to be desperate.

But instead, it was a slow growing realization that I am not enough on my own.

I’m not superwoman. I can’t juggle twenty things without getting crabby and stressed. I don’t know how to always have joy. I haven’t mastered the art of finding peace. I don’t know how to love people like He does. Slowly, I realized that the things that I thought made me who I am, were not mine at all. They were Jesus in me. Joy? Without Jesus, forget it. Peace? Without Jesus, it’s not happening. Serving? Without Jesus, I want some applause for my ‘servant’s heart’. Courage? Even with Jesus, that’s a struggle. I began to see that I am not enough. I can never be the best version of myself, unless I am actively, desperately pursuing God. Without God, I am nothing.

Pursuing God is scary. Not because God is scary – He is beyond amazing – but because I am. Because human nature is. I was beginning to see that I had become so comfortable in my relationship with Jesus, that it wasn’t really a relationship at all. It was kind of just co-existence. And God deserves more than that.

He deserves our entire being, our entire heart, our whole desperate, messy, gloriously insufficient existence.

To pursue God well, you have to admit you need Him. You need Him every single day, not just for the big moments, not just when there is a crisis, not just when that promotion comes up or that final exam is due, but in every nitty-gritty, detail of every ordinary day. It also requires faithfulness.

Pursue means to shadow, to chase, to trail, to hunt, to practice.

A shadow never leaves its object and we are to shadow the Father. A hunting dog doesn’t stop trailing until it finds its prey. A musician doesn’t stop practicing until they have mastered the piece. This is how we are to pursue the heart of God.

Pursuing God means continually investing in your relationship with Him. It means understanding the deadly power of apathy and fighting against it. It means seeing God in everything, look for Him constantly because He never disappoints.

Most of all, pursuing God is understanding that He is more than enough.

 

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