Blueprint family member Melody Gardner shares how the Circles series has affected her. As I sat Sunday after Sunday listening to the story of Gideon, I confess I would think, “I relate to that point, but not most of what is being preached.” It was not until the last sermon in the series that the veil over my eyes fell and I saw myself clearly—I am an Israelite at heart!
When I think about my relationship with the Lord today, I don’t see where I am blatantly, intentionally sinning against Him. But when I take a closer look, I must conclude that I don’t treat Him very well. I am a fair-weather friend at best.
While I know that spending quality time with God is of the utmost importance, the reason I forsake some of those times is I think our relationship has to do mostly with me; that I am somehow ok if I skip this time, but that is where I err. Yes, spending time with Jesus will help me know what is true, which hopefully shapes the way I think about God and see my life. But if I was to lose my Bible today and not gain access to another one for the rest of my life, I think I would know enough about the Lord to live a life pleasing to Him; one lived by faith.
Spending time with God can’t be solely for the reason above. We can't know everything, but we can know enough to get by under our own standards. So why do we spend time with the God of the universe? Because He deserves our devotion! When you think about your salvation story, if you are honest you will conclude that you were not looking for God. You either grew up in a family that introduced you to Him or you encountered someone along the way who told you about Him. None of use initially sought after God; God sought after us!
What then does the Bible say for us to do once He has found us and we are His?
"But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul." - Deuteronomy 4:29
"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." - Isaiah 55:6-7
"I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me." - Proverbs 8:17
"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!" - 1 Chronicles 16:11
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." - Hebrews 11:6
"And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you." - Psalm 9:10
"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." - James 4:8
The only reason we seek the Lord is because He first sought us. The only reason we can love God is because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). The only response anyone could have after sitting through four powerful sermons on “the condition of the heart of the believer” is repentance. After sermon four I hugged my friend beside me and cried and confessed that I treat God like crap! He deserves my complete devotion and I give Him my scraps at best. What hope do I have that this pattern will change?—Jesus! Jesus is my hope and He is your hope.
Let’s hope in Christ, the author and perfecter of faith. Consider what Jesus endured for those of us who reject Him and let His loving, selfless actions give us hope and strength to finish strong (Hebrews 12:1-3).
"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" - Romans 7:24-25