Thursday, April 16, 2015

Teach us to pray, part 51: Seeking

"So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. (Luke 11:9-10 NASB)

The word translated as "seek" is zēteō.  This word can mean several kinds of seeking, but in this verse it means "to seek with the intention of finding." My first question on reading that was why anyone would seek and not expect to find. Maybe that kind of seeking is really just looking around aimlessly. It turns out that this word can indicate the kind of seeking that is nothing more than pondering with the hope of figuring it out yourself. There is also a kind of seeking that is "striving". You might "seek" to be the richest person in America, but that is not the same as having the expectation that you might attain that goal.

This seeking, however, is the kind of seeking that expects to find or attain what it seeks. Proverbs 17:11 says a rebellious man seeks only evil. If that's what he's seeking, it's what he's going to find, as well. Scripture says a "cruel messenger will be sent after him". That's not the kind of seeking we should be doing. 

Scripture has numerous instructions about seeking. "Seek the Lord your God" (Deut. 4:29), "pray and seek My face" (2 Chron. 7:14), "seek peace and pursue it" (Ps 34:14), "seek good and not evil" (Amos 5:14), "keep seeking the things above" (Col 3:1). Our job as disciples of Christ is to seek our Lord and the things of God, rather than the riches and honor of this world. Our goal and that for which we seek must be pleasing God with our lives. We are to seek peace, seek good and not evil. When we seek those things with the intention that we will find them, our Lord promises that we will do exactly that. 

If we seek God with the intention of knowing Him, we will find Him. If we seek peace with that same intention, we will find it. 

Scripture also draws a sharp contrast between that which our enemy the devil seeks and that which God seeks. 1 Peter 5:8 says that our enemy the devil "prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour." 

Ezekiel records the promise of God to send a shepherd for his people, who were like lost sheep, wandering about with no one to care for them. "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick... (Ezekiel 34:16 NASB) Jesus declared that He was the Good Shepherd, come to seek and to save that which is lost. (John 10:11). It is the goal of the evil one to destroy those who are lost. It is the goal of Almighty to God to find us when we are lost, restore us, bind up our wounds and strengthen us. What a difference!

Here's the wonderful thing about seeking for God. When we are seeking for God, He is also seeking for us. In our seeking, we can count on both being found and finding the object of our desire!

The question we must answer is simple. For what do we seek? The answer often lies in what we have found. If we find that for which we seek, and we do, then what we have found so far is what we have sought. Ouch! For today, let's take a close look at our lives. Look at the kind of life we have found in our seeking, at the kind of relationships we have found, at the kind of relationship we have with Christ. Is it a warm and intimate relationship with Him or do we have a passing head knowledge that is more history than current event? 

If what we have sought has not brought us that which satisfies, let's be done with it and seek that which has eternal significance and brings joy and peace that lasts.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, 
and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NASB)