Growing up in an evangelical family and spending most of my time in church, I had no idea there was a need for rediscovering God. I assumed I was good-to-go. But once we leave our homes and try out our new-found freedom as adults, life has a way of shaking things up, challenging everything we were taught to believe. This is good. If something doesn’t hold up to a good shaking, it wasn’t worth having. Even the Bible says to test ourselves. But, whether we like it or not, life does a good job of testing us, in the most unexpected ways and at the least convenient times.
Life throws many darts our way and the sooner we have eyes to see the lessons in our circumstances, the sooner we are able to grow and move on. Yet the truth is, most of us stay in our circle of life, never truly learning much. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.” It can also be said that most of us don’t want a different result, we want the status quo.
THERE’S MORE, I KNOW IT
For me, I started pushing back on the status quo in my life because my gut (i.e. my spirit) was telling me there was more; I was missing something. Reading my Bible, it was as if there were words hidden behind the words. I don’t know how to explain it other than, instinctively, I knew there was more to that book than what was on the surface. Most of us are stuck on the surface without realizing that the Bible is actually a multi-layered document, woven by the Holy Spirit. It’s not something we can understand on our own but only recognized and realized spiritually. Like needing specially tinted glasses to see a hidden meaning..but that’s exactly what it is. When we read the Bible where it says to “seek and you shall find,” it’s an invitation to rediscovering God. And we need new eyes, spiritual eyes, to do it.
It starts with a nudge, oh, so faint at first. A call to our spirit. Not knowing what it is, it’s easy to brush it off as nothing. Instead of pressing into that faint call, we often choose to lean into the instruction of others to tell us what to do and believe. But God tells us to seek and we will find. God hides Himself. He tells us this plainly but we really don’t stop and consider what this means or how we should respond.
If you didn’t grow up in the church, you may not know what that nudging is and instead seek to satisfy that call through other things, but nothing answers back. You might become a truth-seeker in a variety of ways, offering some semblance of relief, but still a nagging. If you are a Christian, most of us have grown accustomed to reading and quoting Bible passages about seeking God, giving a hearty nod or “amen” but nothing else. We don’t “selah” (pause) and ponder. If God puts in us this drive to know something deeper and tells us to “seek Him”, “seek the Kingdom”, “search out a matter”, then how do we respond?
A nod or mental ascent to the call isn’t sufficient. This is where we pray, “God, open my eyes so I can see, my ears so I can hear.” And then we listen…and search.
WE SEE DIFFERENTLY
“God, what do you want me to find today?” is a good prayer to pray.
In no time, we notice something we haven’t noticed before. We hear a song, read a quote, overhear a conversation, or hear a sermon and suddenly something in us is on fire or feels alive. Perhaps we’re reading the Bible and the words seem to become alive, almost vibrating, then a word jumps off the page and we can’t unsee it. This leads to finding out what that word means in the original language and in context not only of that particular letter but in context with all of scripture.
Soon, in what seems like an instant, or suddenly, God folds back a layer in His Word (the Bible), and we are like, “whoa!”. Then, everything looks different to us. God becomes different to us. He’s more real, more personal. It’s here that we realize the Word of God vibrates with LIFE. And even more, we can see that it IS alive! We’re not just understanding scripture better, we’re getting to know a PERSON.
We’ve entered the most thrilling version of hide-and-seek we’ve ever played. But it’s not a game; it’s a relationship. A deep, fulfilling, and satisfying relationship. Deep calls to deep…that little whisper or nudge that started it all was the deep of our spirit responding to the call of the Holy Spirit.
A doe calls to her fawn, so faint, yet distinguishable by her little one, and it cries back. In the same manner, God’s Spirit calls out and those with ears to hear wander off into the forest to search for that call and respond. We are all meant to hear that call to our spirit. We don’t have to be sitting in a church building to hear it. He calls to us wherever we are. Ironically, the hardest place to hear sometimes is in church, because we think we already hear.
Despite the call going out to everyone, only a few will heed the call. Most ignore it or brush it off as nothing. But the ones willing to stop and wonder what that call was, where it came from, and are willing to seek…what a treasure awaits!
This is where relationship is formed. We can hear about, study, and believe that God exists, that Jesus is His Son, come in the flesh to die for our sins, and raised from the dead for our salvation, but that isn’t relationship. It’s knowledge. Relationship is having shared values, passions, and interests. It’s preferring each to the other but never demanding that preference.
The Father never demands we seek Him. He invites us to respond to the call of the Spirit and set out on a path of rediscovering God.
STOP BEING RIGHTEOUS
As we seek, search, and push our way to find Him, we learn something new about who the Father is, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We love what they love, learn about their personalities, and enjoy their company. Not only do we learn to love what God loves but we discover WHO He is AND who we are! He created us. He knows us better than we do so when we discover God we discover ourselves.
Knowing God as a person means we have things in common with Him. We have conversations as our spirit receives and responds to the promptings from His Spirit. We recognize God’s little “kisses” throughout our day, whether it’s a bird that lands nearby with a sweet song, a well-timed song, or a stream of sunshine at the perfect moment. He also includes us in being an avenue of blessings for others. Maybe we feel the need to call a friend, send a card or flowers, or show kindness to a stranger. Either way, God wants to include us in what matters to Him. We love what He loves and can’t get enough of Him. The more we know God, the more we know ourselves. Our hearts are knit to His and being in a relationship means we love doing what He loves. We love holiness.
So often we make it the opposite. We think trying to be good and holy gains us favor. That doing holy things makes us close to God. God says that’s a foul stench to Him. This can seem confusing. Doesn’t God want us to live righteously? No. He wants us to live in closeness TO Him, THEN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS flows THROUGH us. The Bible says that our righteousness is as filthy rags.
Nearly all of us have an incomplete or incorrect idea of who God is. He is inviting us to rediscover Him. It starts with noticing that nudge in our spirit and then setting out to find Him. Where we start is irrelevant. We can be an addict on the street or a preacher in the pulpit. External appearances are nothing. In God’s eyes, He desires that you give up your ideas of who He is and play some hide-and-seek with Him! He loves it! God hides Himself on purpose, because it is in the seeking that we get to know Him. In the process, let’s ask God to show us how we are trying to be righteous on our own and show us how to have relationship in closeness to Him so that His righteousness overflows out of us.
A prayer for you:
Father, I pray that those who read this feel that pull in their spirit. Show them how to find You. Let them know that You absolutely delight in them no matter where they are in their life. Give them eyes to see the breadcrumbs you leave so that we can find You. Thank you that you WANT to be found and that You PROMISE that we will find You when we seek with our whole heart! Amen.