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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

In Pursuit

Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor. (Proverbs 21:21 NLT)

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death."  (Leonardo da Vinci)  Pursuit is not for the faint-hearted. It takes tenacity to pursue something - commitment that just doesn't accept the status quo, or won't settle for substitutes. There are a whole lot of pursuits some call "noble" or "worthy", yet if they aren't leading toward living in righteousness and unfailing love, they are devoid of all that gives them integrity. I'd have to ask us to truthfully examine what "principles" we'd pursue unto death - not just those we'd give lip-service to right now, but those we'd hold onto until life had been wrung from our very frame. Are they the principles that lead to life, righteousness, and honor in the end? If not, they may just be "noble pursuits", but they may lack the ability to challenge the lives of those around us to pursue truly "worthy" things in theirs.


As a kid, I'd watch Saturday morning cartoons. One such cartoon depicted a roadrunner and a coyote. That coyote was always in pursuit of that roadrunner, but each and every time he got close enough to think he was going to actually lay hold of him, the roadrunner would outsmart him on some level. The coyote never gave up, though. He knew what he wanted and nothing, but nothing, was going to stop him from his pursuit. It is entirely possible we have the same focused attention toward whatever it is we are in pursuit of in this lifetime, yet totally and completely miss that it is not ours for the taking! The pursuit of righteousness doesn't go to the weak, but it doesn't go to those who try to make their own path toward it either. It goes to those who pursue as God directs, seeking him first in every move, and then learning to use what is received at his feet in service to others. It goes to those who realize the first goal in life is to KNOW God - for all Jesus did on our behalf was for the express purpose of dealing with the separation between us (in our sinfulness) and God (holy and righteous in all respects).  In turn, the pursuit of God in such a way as to really get to know him as he desires to be known will manifest in us helping others know him in the same way.

Pursuit is more than tenacity - it is focused, purposeful aim. It is the desire to do more than "get". This might seem a little odd to some, but in "getting" God expects us to "give". As we become more and more acquainted with his righteousness, we desire to see it evident in the lives of those around us - we want them to experience the beauty of life like we are experiencing it. When I am on vacation with a friend and sight some critter scurrying through the woods as we are on a lazy afternoon hike, I want that friend to have also seen what I saw. The moment I spot that critter, I try to call my friend's attention to the spot where I saw it last. It may no longer be there, but if we both watch closely, it may emerge into our line of sight again. God's grace and goodness are not elusive, but there are times we need another to help us see what it is we may have missed by our inattentiveness. This may very well be one of the reasons God expects us to live in relationship with other believers - to help each other see what we may have missed on our own. Pursuit is made all the better when it is not done all alone - we are spurred on to finish the race, and to finish it well.  Just sayin!