We ALL have said it I’m sure, I know that I most definitely have, you know that whole. “Be grateful that they removed themselves from your Life” I suppose the difficulty comes when it isn’t on your timetable or your terms. However, rather than being “the one that got away” you one day discover it was more of “thank heavens, you escaped, Yikes!” Today I heard a phrase I hadn’t heard in quite some time “I tried but it just didn’t work out” they went on to say how something else eventually filled that emptiness for them. This would be great except the phrase was about Jesus.
So many people seem devoted to pursuing God but when it appears as though they have finally arrived at the right place with Him, it doesn’t work out. In other words, can you pursue God on your terms, or do you need to do so according to His? The pursuit of God is not merely to find Him but to continually strive to become like Him, to acquire His characteristics so that we might stand firmly in His presence. People often seek God for other reasons and mainly experience failure of the relationship because they want God to conform to their image instead of them conforming to His.
The pursuit of God is like most relationships in life; you’re most likely to get in return what you put into it. Those who sincerely pursue God desire to embrace His Word fully, they adopt His Ways while withdrawing from the words and will of the world. They see the pursuit of God as reality, the only thing that is permanent, eternal versus the earthly pursuit of any and everything that is temporary. If God sometimes seems unresponsive, is it possible that it’s you who are unresponsive in seeking HIS Will rather than our own.
The proper pursuit of God is a pursuit of His righteousness, to give up one’s ways and desires for those of God’s. It’s a process that may not take you to the places your flesh desires, nor effect changes according to your schedule a timeline that is most pleasing to yourself. Proverbs 15:9 says, “The LORD detests the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness.” The reason some people “pursue” God but are ultimately unsuccessful is that they refuse to embrace the notion that the biblical definition of “pursue” involves forsaking one’s ways for God’s.
To pursue righteousness means, we must recognize that we cannot please God in our sinful state (Romans 8:8). We pursue righteousness when we pursue the character of Christ and desire holiness more than fleshly indulgence. We turn from trying to justify ourselves by our good deeds and instead seek the mercy of God. We desire that He transform our minds (Romans 12:2) and conform us “to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
We avoid the temptation to become self-righteous when we understand that true righteousness begins with godly humility (Psalm 25:90). We remember that Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). When we spend time in the presence of God, we become more aware of our sin and shortcomings.
A white shirt will look vibrant and white when compared beside a dark black wall. However, when that same white shirt is compared with fresh snow, it looks dingy and dirty. Pride and self-righteousness much like the white shirt cannot compare to that of a Holy God. Pursuing righteousness begins with a humble heart and a desire to seek the continual presence of God (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). The humble, believing heart leads to a lifestyle of righteous actions acceptable to God (Psalm 51:10).