Joni Erickson Tada had a terrible accident that left her a quadriplegic. In spite of her physical limitations she became an accomplished author and artist. Over 25 years ago she married her husband, Ken. For her wedding she had planned to come down the center aisle in her motorized wheel chair. Just before her grand entrance she noticed two distressing problems. First, she had rolled over her beautiful gown and made a big grease spot and tear in it. Then, the flowers in her lap had slipped and had lodged between her leg and the chair. She was filled with disappointment, and then suddenly the doors to the auditorium opened, and she saw her husband to be.
Here was the man who was committing his love and his life to her. Joni later said, “Once I saw Ken’s face, all I could think of was him. Everything else—the people in the church, the flowers that were sitting a little askew on my lap, the fact that my dress didn’t fall right because I was sitting in a wheelchair, the grease marks, the rip in my gown all of it paled in comparison.”
How do we view Christ today, is he all that matter to us, or are we divided in our attention and love? All the imperfections, everything around her that Joni Erickson saw, meant absolutely nothing, when she saw the love of her life Ken, and the commitment he was about to make to her.
When we look at the commitment Jesus made on the cross, when he died for our imperfections and our failures and our mistakes, is that all that matters to you? The moment we start focusing on Jesus and who he is, we start to diminish the impact the world has in our lives. He becomes all that matters to us.
The Bible speaks about having a passion for the things of God, about earnestly and fervently seeking after God.
Jeremiah 29:13 (AMP)
Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
1.A Deep Longing
Have you ever asked yourself the question: What am I longing for? What is it that brings me satisfaction and joy in life? You may answer this by saying its family, its friends, your job or even your possessions.
In Jeremiah 29, we read that the nation of Israel is in exile in Babylon. We find that God instructs the Israelites through Jeremiah, to make the best of a bad situation, to build houses to get married and multiply. Gods plans for his chosen people, were good. Scripture tells us that his plans were not to harm them but to give them a future, but that future had to be berthed from a place that they had to endure for 70 years, because of disobedience.
God instructs them that even during the exile they were not to forget God, they were not to depart from his word and his laws. And God tells them that even during this period in the history of Israel, during this period of being in exile, that they will seek him, and if they seek him, if they seek the face of God, they will find God.
I love how the amplified (amplifies this scripture). The Bible says, with a deep longing you will seek me. What God is telling us here friends, that this is not just about seeking God, its not just about praying and reading your bible. It’s about a deep longing, its about a desperation a deep desire. A desire that consumes you mind, your body and you soul. It’s about a deep desire that no worldly pleasure can ever compare to.
In Psalm 84:2, the psalmist writes:
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?
The psalmist is showing us here what a deep longing for God is like. He finds himself in a crisis moment, in turmoil and despair. But he chooses to search after God. He gives us the illustration of a deer that, if it does not find water will not survive. There is a desperate need for water for the deer in order to quench its thirst. In the same way his desire is for God, he has a deep longing desire that is searching for God. The psalmist understands that through the most difficult moments in life, there is nothing and no one that can bring relief and satisfaction to his weary soul except God himself.
That is why the same psalmist that writes about the deer panting for the water brooks in Psalm 42 tells us in Psalm 84 – My heart and my soul cries out, not just for any God, not just for anything to bring satisfaction to his soul but for the Living God. He understands that its only the Living God that can quench his desire, that can bring him the satisfaction and peace that his soul longs for.
He goes on in vs 10 of Psalm 84 and tells us that he would rather be a doorkeeper the house of his God, than to dwell in the tents of the wicked. Can we echo those words today? How desperate are we to be in the presence of God? Are we willing to sacrifice the world just to be a doorkeeper in the house of God?
2.A Vital Necessity
In order to understand this vital necessity lets break it down –
- the word vital means something that is crucial that is indispensable.
- Necessity means something that is needed it’s a basic need. It means that this is something that cannot be done without, you need this in order to survive.
When you put this together we get a better picture of what God is telling the Israelites and us today and that is that we must have a deep desire to need God, to seek God, to require the power and presence of God, not just as something that we can use and be a part of from time to time, but it must be a vital requirement something that becomes ingrained in our DNA, that is so crucial to our very existence. It needs to be such, that without God, we cannot even make it another second of our lives.
2 Chronicles 15:2 (AMP)
and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, as your soul’s first necessity], He will let you find Him; but if you abandon (turn away from) Him, He will abandon (turn away from) you.
Again, scripture tells us to seek God, as our first necessity. Many times, we look to different sources and to the world for answers to our problems, we first seek the intellect and wisdom of man instead of seeking God first, he is the answer to the problems you and I face, he does not provide a solution HE IS THE SOLUTION.
We need to understand that the world will give us “a solution” but will never point us to “THE SOLUTION” and that is Jesus Christ.
There are many things that we need in life to survive – food & water are some of them, but I want to tell you today, that you need Jesus Christ to survive. Without Jesus we are “walking dead”. Seeking, and longing for more of God should become something in our lives that we would not be able to survive without.
3.You will find me
Our text goes on and says, “you will find me”. But it does not end there. You see, there is a clause, there is something like a condition. God tells us, yes you will find me, but only if you search for me with all your heart.
How often in life, we live with compartments or rooms, each part of our life is a separate room, and what we do in one room we cannot do in another. And many times, we give God this treatment as well, we allow God to have access to only certain parts of our lives. We live in a world that tells us, that we can do as we please, we are free, and we don’t need to become super spiritual, we don’t need to become obsessed with Christ.
You see, God tells us: “You will only find me, if you seek for me with all you heart”, if you deeply long for me and for a relationship with me, if I become a vital necessity of your life. When Christ becomes your obsession, when he becomes all you focus on, everything that consumes you mind, your heart and your soul, then you will find him.
Deuteronomy 4:29 (AMP)
But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.
There are may aspects in our lives that we try to keep God out of because we think we don’t need him:
- God cannot be kept out of your marriage, a marriage should be a love triangle with you, your spouse and God being the center of it.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (ESV)
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
2. Teach you children the ways of God, not the ways of the world.
Proverbs 22:6 (AMP)
Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
3. God needs to be part of your everyday life, at work, at school & in the marketplace.
True joy is only found when we seek God with our whole heart, not a divided heart.
Psalm 119:2, 9-11 (NIV)
2Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart—
9How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.
The psalmist tells us, that the person who keeps the law of God, who seeks him with all their heart is blessed. And this blessing only comes by living according to God’s word, by seeking God with a deep longing, a desire to be where God wants you to be.
How do we seek God with our whole hearts, with a deep longing, a vital necessity?
- God needs to be above everything and everyone in your life (including your spouse, your children, you job), once these become more important than God, then he does not have your whole heart.
- There should be nothing that you seek in life, that takes away the priority from God. We need to ask ourselves the question: Am I more concerned about my job, my relationship with man or my relationship with God?
- Faithfully seeking God. Life happens and sometimes life throws curveballs in our path, but when life happens do, we continue seeking God with a deep longing. When you faced with illness, loss of employment, marriage in crisis, how do we respond? Despite everything happening around us remain faithful.
As you live your life in this world, I want to encourage you today, do not take your eyes of Jesus, stay focused on Jesus Christ. No matter how difficulty life can get, no matter what the world throws at you – seek God with a deep longing, as a vital necessity with all your heart.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Feel free to comment or share a testimony.