Guest speaker Pastor Lee Joyner speaks on the passion involved in pursuing God. The reward of the pursuit of Him is that we get more God! How deep is your hunger for Him?
No one celebrates indifference. We write songs and go see movies about people who are passionate because we have been built, created, and designed by God to walk in passion.
Psalm 42:1-5 “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation”
This is where many people live. Have you ever experienced a situation where theologically you know what is true and right, but in your heart you are in tears? You know that God is there, you know God loves you, you know God cares for you, you know God has a purpose and a plan and a destiny for your life. But even though you know that intellectually, in your heart there is something that is causing grief and disappointment and messing with your emotional status.
Verses 1-2 are common verses that go on coffee cups and t-shirts, but this is not a beautiful text. This is a deer who is experiencing desperation. He has been running through the forest all day long being chased by the hunter and hounds. He is hungry, thirsty, dehydrated and he is saying, “In this moment, God, I want You more than anything else.” This is a text of desperation, angst, passion, and of desire for God. This is not indifference, this is passion.
Psalm 63: 1-8 “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. 5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7 for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
This is not indifference! This is not someone who says “I will take you when I can. I’ll come to church maybe tomorrow; I’m not in a big hurry.” This text starts with ‘earnestly I seek you’, which means the first thing you think about when you wake up is God. When you go through your day, the thing you are always thinking about is God. David is telling God his passion for Him.
Habakkuk 3: 17-19a “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”
If the crop fails this year, the seed for next year has failed as well, because they are in this year’s crop. Things are bad right now and it doesn’t seem like any possibility of it getting better in the future, BUT yet I will rejoice in God. Many of us attach our passion, desire, love, and pursuit of God to Him bringing us plenty. What happens to our joy when things go bad? What happens when there is a trial in your marriage? Is God still good? When you get sick, is God still faithful? Is He still a healer? Is He still a deliverer?
“O I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to You. Do not forsake me, for if ever I should be on my own, I will easily wreck it all.” Martin Luther King
“I thank thee, that this which is a necessity of my new life is also it’s greatest delight. So I do at this hour feast on thee.” Charles Spurgeon
“O to behold the glory of God. Therein will I live, therein will I stand, therein will I die till all things here below become as dead or defiled things no longer pulling at my affections in any way.” John Owens
God I want you to be clearly seen in my life. That’s what I’m after, that’s my pursuit.
Philippians 3:8a “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Paul is assessing himself and looking to see what things cause him to worship God and what things don’t. He is cutting off the things that cause him to look away from God. It’s not just sin that can cause you to look away from God. There are morally neutral things that can cause you to look away from God as well; like going to the movies or watching TV.
Where is your hunger for God? Where is the deep hunger and passion of David, Habakkuk, and Paul in you? They walked and lived in freedom and joy no matter what came their way.
When God is your joy and what you are after, you can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil. When you no longer fear it you realize two things: you are only going through the valley, not staying in it; and death is only a shadow.
The way we experience this joy is to ask God to create in us a hunger.
Song of Solomon 1:4 “Draw me after you…” If You don’t draw me then I won’t be able to run after You.
When you’re pursuing Him, church work becomes a joy. But when you’re pursuing church work, you get tired with the work and eventually tired of God.
Speak life and faith into the people next to you. The reward of the pursuit of Him is that we get more God!