Friday, December 29, 2006

Seek Or Swim!

Have you ever tried to figure out why we do such a terrible job of fighting sin? When I think back through my spiritual journey, one of the biggest puzzles for me personally, is why I was such an awful warrior for God. Please don't think I'm saying that I've arrived and that I have totally conquered sin. Far from it! I just understand it now. I understand why I did such a pitiful job of winning the sin battles and why it seemed to be the same battles over and over. The truth is, I wasn't fighting for God - I wasn't HIS warrior, I was fighting for me not him! The other night in a Bible class, I asked the question (from Psalms 101:4) "Why is it so hard for us to hate sin?" While there are loads of ways to look at it, the biggest problem is that we're fighting an unwinable battle and we know it! It's unwinable because we are fighting sin without seeking God! Anything we do, or try to do, that is not connected to and motivated by our desire to draw closer to God, is simply an act of self-righteousness.

Our primary motivation in life is receiving approval and acceptance from those we value. It starts with our parents and then broadens to include family, friends, students, co-workers, neighbors, and church people, to name a few. Since they determine our value, being "good" is defined by what we think they are looking for before they anoint us with that tag or any other spiritual appellation (i.e. faithful, dedicated, spiritual, righteous enough to serve communion or appoint as elder). So we fight sin to be good, to convince others we're good, and even to feel good about ourselves. But we fail most of the time, so we learn to cover sin up, to replace the obvious with the secret - the hide-able, the closet kind of sin. We don't do the "biggies" just the socially acceptable sins, the - you're-okay-because-you-haven't-brought-reproach-on-the-church-sins. You know, like pride, greed, anger, and selfishness - to name a few. And don't get me wrong - we have some victories! We grow out of some things - Praise the Lord! We lose the desire for some sins - finally. But most of the time we feel guilty, hypocritical, and empty. All the "good acts" and all the back pats in the world don't really make you feel fulfilled and at peace. All the approval and acceptance of all the good church people in our life doesn't do what a genuine relationship with the Father can do. He didn't call us to be approved and accepted by others! He didn't call us to be called good! He didn't tell us to fight sin! Well, yes He did tell us to do all those things - JUST NOT FIRST AND FOREMOST. What He wants and has wanted from the beginning - what He clearly tells us is the secret to all the other things - is to seek Him! Long for Him! Draw close to Him! Hunger for a relationship with Him! When that is our deepest desire, we stop being the Lone Ranger of sin fighting. Seeking Him changes our motivations, our goals, and our desires. Seeking Him means that we are working from the inside out not the outside out! Trying to be righteous without seeking a relationship with God is phony faith and shallow fellowship. Others may say we're good, but maybe it's good for nothing!

Just think about it! Where did we get the innate urge to be accepted, wanted, and desired? Is it surprising that we want what God wants? He's just waiting for us to want Him as much as He wants us! SEEKING HIM simply means that we set our hearts on knowing Him and as we know Him, we seek to please Him! Seeking is the bottom line! It's what He is looking for in the heart of every person! To seek Him is to believe in Him, and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Ever wonder how David, with all his sins, mistakes, and short-comings could be "a man after God's own heart?" In his heart he was seeking God! At times he got distracted and forgot who he loved the most, but when he remembered ( or was reminded), he turned to God with a passion that God wants to see in everyone of us.

It's not like we haven't known this all along. It's not a secret. It really is that simple. We've always known that relationships don't "just happen". They have to be sought, built, and cherished. That's what God wants. Quit seeking to be good. Seek to know and love God, and he'll take care of the good. No one knows "good" like He does!


elizabeth said...

Wow! I love, love, love this!!! Thanks for reminding me where my focus should be. I need to read this everyday.

Glenave said...

Amen, brother Mike! Love you.Glenave

MaryAnn said...

I am going to print this off and save it where I can see it often. I love how you continually and lovingly remind us of God's desire for us--TRUE LIFE as we SEEK to KNOW HIM!!!!
Thank you for sharing. God is using you to help us KNOW and DRAW closer to Him.