“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be completely satisfied.” Matthew 5:6
What does it mean to seek God with all your heart? Are you seeking to know about God or seeking to know God? We first must understand the difference between knowing God and experiencing God. Once we understand the difference between having knowledge about God and knowing God intimately, we can seek to become more intimate with Him.
Keys To Seeking God
Hunger and thirst must drive us. Matthew 5:6 says we must hunger and thirst for righteousness. God is the only one who can impart righteousness to us. He has imparted Christ’s righteousness to us if we have accepted His Son as Savior. But we continue to work out our faith to become more Christ-like day by day, we must crave Him as we crave food and drink.
This implies it is necessary to our very survival. When someone is hungry or thirsty, he must seek to fulfill that need. It pushes out other desires because is the need for sustenance is so critical.
It is difficult for many of us to imagine the kind of hunger that would drive us to the exclusion of everything else. We are so blessed in this country; we have abundance. We rely so much on ourselves, it is so hard to know God. We don’t recognize our great need.
We have, in our minds, become self-sufficient. Most of us can get along day to day with only minor nods to God. When we do recognize our need for God, it is because we have come to the place where we have no other choice. We seek Him because of a situation or problem that is out of our control—an illness, a wayward child, a relationship that is falling apart, a lack of employment, or finances.
Thank God that He brings us to these moments of quiet desperation. They allow us to acknowledge that what is important is God’s control. They allow us to acknowledge God’s plan for our lives. They allow us to acknowledge that we don’t really have control and to re-prioritize our lives to make God the center.
Don’t Wait for a Crisis
Do I have to wait for a crisis to get to know God intimately? No, you don’t. Absolutely not. It is better not to wait because sometimes in a crisis it is hard to pray, and we end up relying on others to hold us up. But if we seek intimacy with God when we are not in crisis, we will have Him even closer to us when we walk through a crisis.
So how do we press in? Well, you may not like this answer much better.
If we want to get closer to God, we must deny ourselves. We must deny the flesh to learn self-control and submission to God. Because when you get down to the basics of what holds us back from God, it is self. We are sitting on the throne of our own lives instead of allowing God to sit on the throne. We may not be on the throne of our own lives in every area, but until we have surrendered every part of our lives to God, self is in the way.
“He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
What is the cross I must take up daily? I used to think mine was getting up at 4:30 a.m. I did not enjoy my schedule. But doing is it was a discipline in my life. It created daily reliance on God because it is counter to my natural inclination. This is an example of self-denial. I would have preferred to go to bed later at night and get up later in the morning. But I couldn’t follow my own inclinations and still do the job God had given me to do during that season, which was teach. Teaching required early rising to be at school on time.
Though I am no longer teaching full time, I still find getting up each morning an area I have to surrender to God. Even when I don’t have any place to be, I try to be on a consistent schedule because I know it is healthier for my body. Putting my body under submission is an example of self-denial, and it requires me to trust in God each day. I wake up and ask for God’s help before I even set my feet on the floor.
If we examine those things in our lives that we deem mundane and routine, or challenging and irritating, we may find that they are the very things providing a measure of discipline and self-control in our lives. God may be leading us to greater areas of self-denial as we seek to grow in intimacy with Him.
Following God means denying ourselves. That is a challenging thing. We need to take one step at a time. We may even have to ask God to show us areas of our lives that have not been surrendered. He will gently lead us; He desires greater intimacy with us.
That is the good news! If we seek, if we hunger, if we thirst, the promise is we will be completely satisfied. That is a great promise. Completely satisfied. How many times can we claim that we are completely satisfied, even when we have planned for ourselves? Do we ever get it completely right?
God Satisfies Completely
God can completely satisfy you by filling every need, every desire, and every void in your life. What’s more, He is the only One who can completely satisfy. Other things we use to try to satisfy fall short. So today, take up your cross, sacrifice some time, and begin to walk in greater intimacy with God.
And don’t be discouraged. Remember that God does not expect us to do this alone. He has provided the Holy Spirit to be our Guide. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. He has promised to provide wisdom when we ask.
Seeking Him means learning His ways and asking Him for help in every area of our lives—even those we think we can handle. The more we invite God in, the greater our experience with Him. And the greater experience we have, the greater our intimacy.