I remember when I first got serious about my relationship with God. It was during my college years. One of the verses of Scripture that influenced me greatly was Matthew 6:33. It says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” Arrested by the truth of this verse, I made it my aim to pursue a relationship with the Lord. I recall telling one of my friends, “I am a seeker.” Though I definitely wasn’t perfect, knowing and following the Lord became a big priority in my life. As time went on, however, I learned that seeking after God can be a hard thing. The way can get lonely, fervency can wane, and distractions can prevail. I needed insight. I needed to learn what was actually involved with seeking after God. The activity isn’t just a mystical endeavor based on emotional feelings. There are simple, strategic things one can do to truly seek after God. Consider three actions we can embrace.
Some don’t spend time with God because they simply haven’t included Him in their schedules. Consumed by the rat race, and busied by countless second-rate priorities, they find little time for personal worship and prayer. I don’t know about you, but I’ve discovered I have to make time for the Lord. If I don’t, my day will be overcome by the tyranny of things that are seemingly urgent. When we study Scripture, we learn that many of the Lord’s faithful followers were dedicated to making time for Him (Psalm 55:17; Daniel 6:10; Mark 1:35; Acts 4:23-31; Philippians 3:13-14; Revelation 1:10). Any meaningful relationship requires a time commitment. Can you imagine a man expecting to be close to his wife while never interacting with her throughout his daily routine? Surely such a man can’t be regarded as having due concern for his marriage. However, some believers do something similar. They profess a desire to know God, but they simply don’t spend time with Him.
If you want to draw near to God, you’ve got to hear what He has to say. Fortunately, you have an easy path for doing this. You have a Bible! The Good Book is a treasure house of truth straight from the mouth of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21). It is a surefire way of drawing near to the Lord. I recently heard someone say, “If you want to hear God speak, read the Bible. If you want to hear Him speak aloud, read the Bible out loud.”
Listen to Him.
It seems we all know that good listening is a pre-requisite for good relationships, but we all seem to struggle at it. Don’t we? Have you ever accidentally let your mind wander as a friend told you about her troubles? Do you sometimes interrupt? Is it tempting to talk about yourself too much? If we want to really connect with others, we’ve got to listen. The same is true in our spiritual relationship with God. The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Hearing involves the reception of words and concepts; listening entails responsiveness. If you are regularly hearing from God, good. Make sure that you are also listening to Him. Don’t just receive what He says, respond to it. Put it into action. You will be blessed in doing so (James 1:25).
Dr. Patrick Latham