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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seeking God

Isaiah 55:6-7  (The Message) "Seek God while he's here to be found, pray to him while he's close at hand.  Let the wicked abandon their way of life and the evil their way of thinking.  Let them come back to God, who is merciful, come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness."

Zephaniah 2:3  (The Message) "Seek God, all you quietly disciplined people who live by God's justice.  Seek God's right ways. Seek a quiet and disciplined life."

Scripture bears many accounts of a much familiar command to seek God - seeking with an intensity that guarantees that we will find him if we seek him with all our heart.  If we each should be seeking God, exactly how do we seek God?  With what attitude of heart?  What does seeking "look" like?  Those who know me think that I am a pretty "intense" person - focused, determined, and committed are words often used to describe me.  In that intensity, there is a deep desire to go in search of all that God has for me - discovering all he reveals, to acquire all he has planned for me.  I am not sure exactly when that "intensity" of heart took hold in my life, but I certainly am enjoying every moment of God's presence, his revelation of truth, and his graces bestowed anew each and every day.

Seekers of God have some unique characteristics.  If you really want to understand what "seeking" looks like, then hold on - we are about to explore what it is that will win you the honor of being called "intense" in your commitment to God, too!

First, seeking God requires an immediate and continuous response to his tending of our lives.  Seekers of God allow the ground of their heart to be broken up by the Holy Spirit, allowing him to dig deep into the hardened areas that need to be turned over afresh, bringing new growth and production of fruit.  A farmer will tell you that the "fallow" soil may be a "virgin" piece of property never having known the touch of the plow.  Or it could be a piece of soil that once have been plowed, but then was somehow left unattended / ignored.  In the course of time, the soil is overtaken by weeds and made hard through the lack of irrigation and tending.  In order for the soil to be reclaimed and made useful again to the farmer, it must be turned over by the sharp plow. 

Regardless of the type of soil (newly claimed soil or that which is being reclaimed after a long period of fallowness), as the plow passes over and over again, the soil is turned, broken up into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually making the soil ready for use.  Then, the farmer is ready to replenish the soil (conditioning it for his use) - graciously fertilizing and tending it until it is just right for planting and fruit-bearing.  There are seasons of plowing, followed by seasons of planting - all aimed at seasons of bearing fruit.  Not only does a seeker respond immediately to the desire of the Master Farmer to "apply the plow", but there is a willingness to have the plow applied as often as it is warranted necessary by the one who knows us best - our Master Farmer, Jesus.

Second, seekers have an ability to sense that the Master Farmer is near.  God tells us that those that know him draw near to him.  Seekers know where to find him because he first draws near to them.  Did you ever consider the awesomeness of our Master Farmer God in seeking us out first as soil that he desires to cultivate?  Scripture tells us that he did so while we were still sinners - hardened soil, untouched by the plow, barren through and through.  God draws near for the express purpose that he may be found.  A seeking heart recognizes his presence and responds in eager expectation of what his "touch" will reveal.

Third, seekers yield to the hand of the Master Farmer - the soil of their hearts is turned over, exposing the hidden rocks and roots beneath the surface.  The plowing of the Holy Spirit in our lives does more than "break up the dirt" of our soulish life.  It uncovers the hidden roots of sin buried deep in the recesses of our minds and allows them to be uprooted, no longer holding us bound to those sins.  It brings to the surface the rocks of past failures, exposing them so they can be removed and no longer presenting barriers to our growth.  It breaks up the hardness of our emotions and makes our hearts penetrable by his love, his grace and his peace.

Seekers of God have a singleness of purpose - there is a desire to know the strength of the Master Farmer - to experience his tenacity and long-suffering in anticipation of a wonderful harvest.  Just as the Master Farmer has a singleness of purpose in applying his care to our untended hearts, we are expected to have this same singleness of purpose in responding to his careful attention.  So, as we enjoy this Sunday morning, let us focus our attention on him while he is near, drawing close to him while he may be found.  Let us bear the marks of the Lord's plow in the soil of our hearts.  See what the Master Farmer will do with the yielded soil of your heart today!