Monday, April 2, 2018


RELENTLESS PURSUIT

It was 4 a.m. Unable to sleep, I was quietly talking with God when my sweet toy poodle of 12 years, gently pawed my bedside with a polite, "I'm here." I ignored her and waited. She waited. Then her pawing resumed with more intensity. I waited. The longer I delayed my response, the more intense and determined she became in gaining my attention. 

Little did she know that she had my attention from the very beginning, but I wanted to see if she would give up and return to her bed. Not dissuaded, she relentlessly and noisily pawed the bed. When I saw that she was committed to getting my attention, and that she was not going to give up, I reached down and lifted her to me. Her joy was palpable as she smothered me with kisses. I embraced her in my love, and she quickly curled up next to me and fell asleep.

As always, God has a way of using the simplest moments in life to show the most profound expressions of His heart. As I meditated on the sweetness of the moment, the Lord spoke into my spirit:

"I am always and ever present. I never sleep, and I never grow weary. I wait for My children to come to Me, and when they do, I welcome their presence with great joy. Yet there are times when I withhold My response to see if they will relentlessly pursue Me with all their heart, mind, and strength. Sadly, some give up and return to their bed of affliction. But oh how I rejoice over those who are relentless in their pursuit of Me. They are the ones who find that perfect rest and comfort in My great love for them."

What does it mean to be relentless? Relentless means to be incessant, to never give up, to be constant, continual, unceasing, and unremitting.

What does it mean to pursue? Pursue is to follow closely and to chase after.

God wants us to be relentless in our pursuit of Him. He tells us, "Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually (I Chronicles 16:11). For when You seek Me, you will find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). God promises us, "Draw near to [Me] and [I] will draw near to you" (James 4:8).

I have discovered in this highly mechanized and computerized world, there are four types of people:
1. Those who have no interest in the things of God 
2. Those who pursue God only when in need 
3. Those who dutifully read their Bible, pray, and attend church 
4. Those who pray, read their Bible, attend church, and relentlessly and tirelessly pursue God in conversation, prayer, and study of His Word.

I confess that before becoming a Christian, I fit into the second category. However, after becoming a Christian, I gradually moved into the third category, where I was content to stay for many years. Yet over the last few years, God has been urging me to proactively embrace the fourth category, which has taken me to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him.

Intimacy is relational. It is closeness, togetherness, affinity, rapport, attachment, familiarity, friendship, affection, warmth, confidence in another, understanding, cooperation, and companionship. Intimacy is knowing God and being intimately known by Him. Trust is at the heart of intimacy. Without trust, there can be no intimacy, and without intimacy, there can be no faith, for faith can never be attained by mental assent.

We build trust and intimacy with God by daily spending time in His presence. We speak with Him, as a friend speaks with a friend. I have conversations with God throughout my day, whether I am working around the house or out running errands. I ask Him what is on His heart and tell Him what is on my heart. Most importantly, I listen for His sweet Spirit to speak into my spirit.

God is not a human who will disappoint or fail us. He is "always and ever present." "He is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). Yes, God changes not and is faithful in all His promises. 

God created us with a spirit to communicate with the Holy Spirit. He created us for fellowship with Him. He never intended for our relationship to begin and end in salvation.

Daily, God walked and conversed with Adam and Eve in the Garden, until sin separated them from Him. However, despite their sin, His desire for relationship with mankind did not end. That is what the Easter story is all about—restoration with the Father through the sacrifice of His only son, Jesus Christ.

Reading the Bible and attending church are necessary in acquiring truth and knowledge, but knowledge does not ensure intimacy with God. That requires a daily one-on-one relationship with Him through communication, prayer, and study of His Word.

David was imperfect in many ways as we are, but despite his many failings, he was a man after God's own heart. Why was he a man after God's own heart? Because He relentlessly pursued God with his whole heart. 

Psalm 139 is a revealing and beautiful expression of David's love for God and God's intimate love for us. Their relationship is the kind that our LORD wants all of to have with Him. God is not distant and uncaring, as some have pictured Him. He sent His Holy Spirit to remove that distance. I often pray Psalm 139 aloud when my own words fail me. I encourage you to read it aloud. You will be blessed.

How do we know if we are truly pursuing God? Here are a few questions: Is my prayer time a hurried list of needs that I present to God. Do I look forward to verbally talking with God? Do I ask God what is on His heart? Do I invite Him into every decision before I make one? Do I find joy in spending time with Him or am I fulfilling a to-do list? Do I find joy in studying His Word? Am I relentless in pursuing Him with my whole heart?

The pursuit of God is the evidence of genuine faith. We must pursue Him with all our heart, because as humans, we are so very deficient in our own abilities. The Apostle Paul said, "I press on in order to gain Christ, because Christ has already gained me" (Philippians 3:12). Paul was in constant pursuit of Christ, because in that pursuit, he was given all that he needed.

God wants us to pursue Him until our life is saturated with His presence and power. Our spirits yearn to soar like eagles into the heavenlies, but that can only happen when we pursue God's heart. We are then captured by His embracing love, as He joyfully welcomes us into His presence. 

PRAYER:
FATHER, I ask that You place within my heart, a desire to relentlessly pursue You when I lie down, when I rise, and throughout my daily activities. Help me build an intimate relationship with You through Your Word, and give me an ear to hear Your voice as You speak comfort, peace, love, encouragement, direction, and knowledge into my spirit. In Jesus name, amen.




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