When the Apostle Paul went to Athens in Acts 17 he preached a sermon that answers the most profound question ever asked – Why are we here?
“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:24-27)
Paul said that God put us here to seek the Lord. Sometimes we get so busy living our lives that we miss what life is all about. God allows us to make our plans, build, discover, invent, achieve, fail, laugh, cry, love, hate, and basically do everything that we do in life as if He wasn’t there. But He is. As Paul said, He’s not far away from us at all. Paul’s message isn’t an isolated one. Seeking God is a theme that runs throughout the Bible.
“But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut. 4:29)
“And those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their fathers. They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.” (II Chron. 11:16,17)
“So King Rehoboam grew strong in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.” (II Chron. 12:13,14)
“The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.“ (Psalm 14:2)
“I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.” (Prov. 8.17)
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.“ (Mat. 7:7)
“After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it,
that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.” (Acts 15:16-18)
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)
“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)
In the Old Testament, the Bible says that King Rohoboam (Solomon’s son) did evil because “he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord”. (II Chron. 12:14) In short, God put us here to seek Him. That’s what life is about. Seeking God. Finding God. Knowing God. Serving God. When you leave God out of the equation it makes no sense. All of the money, all of the fame, all of the accolades, all of the achievements, all of the adventures, all of the pleasures mean nothing in the end without seeking, finding, knowing, and serving Him.
500 years from now most of us won’t even be so much as a footnote to history. Our descendants won’t care how much money we had or how successful we were. Eventually the sun will burn out and life on Earth will end. If there’s no God, then what’s the point? It’s all for naught. But if there is a God, then it’s up to us to seek Him and learn about Him. It’s up to us to find out everything we can about Him so that we can follow Him and fulfill His purpose for us.
This is far more than just some cosmic game of Hide & Seek. There’s a plan that is unfolding, and we’re a part of it.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Eph. 1:3-6)
God predestined us (believers in Jesus Christ) to adoption before the world existed. That means that God knew before He created the world that there would be a fall, a savior, and a multitude of redeemed people that would become a part of His family. Ephesians 2:4-7 tells us the reason.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Throughout the eternal past all of God’s attributes were evident, except for grace and mercy. The only way that these could be displayed was through the redemption of a fallen mankind by the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. Now those attributes will be displayed as well, for all eternity.
The angels who rebelled against God were in the presence of God. They knew of Him, His kingdom, His sovereignty, His wisdom, His power …. etc. Despite all of that they rejected His rule, and for that they received condemnation.
Now there’s a whole new creation of spiritual beings who have never seen God, who have limited understanding of Him and His ways, and yet they seek Him. They long to know Him. They worship Him for who He is and what He has done in extending mercy toward them. In this He is glorified to an even greater extent than He was before the world began.
The heavens declare the glory of God … (Ps. 19:1)
God created the universe for His glory, and now through the redeemed on Earth He will be glorified for His mercy as well as His awesome power. Which brings us back to Paul’s sermon at Athens. God put us here to seek Him. In doing so we bring Him glory.
How Do We Seek God?
How Do We Seek God? I had somebody ask me this question recently. It stunned me at first, but I thought about it and realized that I haven’t heard much teaching on this. I assumed that most Christians know, but apparently some don’t. That’s why I’m writing this post. I’m going to lay down a few pointers on seeking God. I guess you could call it Seeking God for Dummies.
Through His Creation
The Bible tells us that God is clearly revealed through His creation.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse. (Rom. 1:18-20)
So we can know a certain amount about God through studying His creation. We can see that He exists, and we can see His infinite power. That’s enough to get us started seeking Him, but it’s not enough. Many people just stop there and worship the creation, or they come up with crazy ideas about how all of creation is one and we’re all god or gods. Bad idea. That’s like spending your life in kindergarten. You have to move on from there.
Through His Word
The main way that we seek God is through reading and studying His Word. Jesus said that God seeks those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:23) It’s not enough to worship just any god or gods. Lots of people have done that and remained under His wrath. We have to worship the true and living God, and we do that by pursuing truth through His Word.
John 1:1 tells us that God and His Word are one, so we have to seek God through His Word. If you want to seek God make it a point to learn all that you can about the Bible. Read it every day. Memorize scriptures. Meditate on them. Study His Word. In doing so you show Him that you want to know all that you can about Him.
Another important way that we seek God is in prayer. Through prayer we get our minds off of ourselves and on God, His kingdom, His will, His purposes, and His power. We see the needs of others. We see the needs of humanity to know God. We get a glimpse into His heart, and begin to understand His compassion and His love.
Spending time in His presence brings a sensitivity to His voice and His leading. Pentecostals and Charismatics know the importance of praying in the Spirit, as Paul mentioned in I Corinthians 14:15.
… I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding …
Jude also mentioned praying in the Holy Ghost in Jude 20. By praying in tongues we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and are able to pray the perfect will of God, even when we don’t know what that is. (Rom. 8:26)
Another way that we seek God is through obedience. Many Christians are waiting for God to reveal some grandiose mission or plan for them when they still haven’t been obedient to what He has already told them to do. When Jesus spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul asked what he should do and Jesus told him to go into the city of Damascus. Paul received no further instruction until he obeyed what he had already been told. By obeying the clear instructions in the Word of God regarding morality and our duties to God we put ourselves in a position to receive further instructions.
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. (Luke 16:10)
As we prove ourselves faithful in little things God entrusts us with greater responsibility. This is also seen in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. We seek God by seeking to please Him by being faithful to what has already been entrusted to us.
James said that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Through humility we acknowledge our weakness and His power. We acknowledge our limited understanding and His infinite wisdom and knowledge. We acknowledge our imperfection and His perfection. Through humility we are given the grace sufficient to do what God has for us to do, receive what He wants us to receive, and become what He wants us to become.
God wants us to seek Him. That’s why He put us here. It’s our mission in life. If you want to draw closer to God, begin to put these principles into practice today. Keep doing them day after day, month after month, and year after year. In time you’ll see God working in your life, and you’ll look back with amazement at how different your life has become as you fulfill His purpose for creating you.