How Genuine is our Love & Pursuit of God
So far this year we have taken our cue from 2Peter 1:1-11. In it we are informed both directly and indirectly about the all-surpassing importance of continually coming to know the Father more intimately and completely by means of knowing Jesus more intimately and completely.
Peter refers to this as a pursuit we should all be actively engaged in.
So far we have seen that this pursuit begins and ends in purity and character change.
As we grow to know God more, we see Him with more clarity. As we see Him in more clarity we are transformed into the likeness of Him that we behold.
THAT is the first and primary benefit of this pursuit.
Knowing God out of love and desire for Him, begins with the kind of heart that is soft and willing to change. Such a heart is actually perfectly conditioned for change because it is malleable and hungry for transformation.
The more like God we become, the more intimate and profound is the potential of our communion with Him.
Hardness of heart and pride are a turn off to God. He hates it and James tells us that God is actively resisting the one who is proud.
Now this reveals an unpopular character trait of God, but God owns it and does not need to apologize for it. FAR from revealing Himself more to such a person through personable influence (grace) He actually resists any attempt at intimacy.
Women, perhaps better understand this than men. For most women, intimacy is not a switch that can usually be flicked on at a moment’s notice. However, if her husband’s interest in her is genuine. If the provision for her is stable and certain. If the obvious desire is for her throughout the day and is not just sexual, then it is a far more natural thing for a woman to not only succumb to intimate overtures, but to actually invite and desire them. In this way God is seen more clearly in women than in men.
God will not be used through selfishness. God is not stingy with His power or authority, nor is He a cold fish. But a person who only draws near to God in order to get FROM Him an emotional boost or an answer to prayer – is not someone whose pursuit is coming out of a genuine desire and hunger for Him, but rather for what He or association with Him can provide.
Without mentioning all the emotional and relational aspects of this, Peter does in fact draw attention to the need for our desire for God to be genuine in this pursuit. That our lives offer evident proofs of interest in fellowship, communion and conformity to Him or intimacy will not happen.
Let’s cast our eyes back on our original text for this series and see what we may about the necessary conditions for knowing God.
2Peter 1:1-11,“(1) From Simeon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, have been granted a faith just as precious as ours.
(2) May grace and peace be lavished on you as you grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord! (3) I can pray this because His divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the One Who called us by His Own glory and excellence. (4) Through these things He has bestowed on us His precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire.
(5) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; (6) to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; (7) to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love. (8) For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately.
(9) But concerning the one who lacks such things – he is blind. That is to say, he is nearsighted, since he has forgotten about the cleansing of his past sins.
(10) Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election. For by doing this you will never stumble into sin. (11) For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided for you.”
So the two benefits of pursuing Christ Jesus that we have explored the most have been that we might experience greater intimacy with Him and that as a result we might become more like Him.
These are noble and noteworthy goals in themselves, yet, it came to me yesterday morning that there is another reason why we pursue knowing The Father through Jesus which is less focused upon ourselves.
We pursue this knowing of Jesus that we might be filled with grace which we can share with others. Grace is of course God’s direct influence upon our hearts. It is from this place of honest and genuine communion and intimacy that all true ministry springs.
This is something I believe all true ministers of Jesus discover time and again in reflecting upon their own lives as they seek to minister to others.
It is SO easy to study God’s word, pursue knowing Him and contemplate on His word in order to have something to give to others.
While there is a certain nobility in this, the focus is wrong.
I was experiencing this myself Friday night as I wrestled through sleep with God. I want to have words to impart life to you, but in my striving for that I can lose focus.
I found myself telling God I wanted to see Him, that I might have some good word seasoned with genuine grace to impart to those who hear… and then I heard my own words and how hollow they were. If I want that, I have to have that and I come to this place from time to time.
We have been talking about being in pursuit of knowing Jesus more intimately, which is just another way of saying, “Seeking God’s face”. Over and over the scriptures talk about the intimacy of face-to-face communion with God (which in scripture is a turn of phrase, but which represents real intimacy).
Moses spoke with God face to face – meaning directly and without parabalistic words [Numbers 12:7]. Jesus spoke to His disciples at the end, as to friends. In response they said,
“See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! (30) Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.” – John 16:29-30
When Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses saying that he was not the only one God speaks to, He speaks to us as well. God got angry with them and asked them how they were not afraid to speak against Moses, a man with whom God speaks face to face, openly and not in riddles and who has seen the general form of God?
Jesus in warning those who might offend others through their sins, warned
“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.”– Matt. 18:10,
We know that right now we see God through a glass dimly, but one day face to face, which means we will know even as we are known. So to seek God’s face or to ask for an encounter with Him is to seek to see Him, hear Him and experience Him with clarity. But why do we ask?
Anytime, our focus is ANYTHING but God, in the purity of knowing Him out of a heart that delights in Him, we get further and further away from living the good news.
When we get lost like this in our lives sometimes and even in godly efforts such as ministry. In times like this it is always good to go back to the beginnings of our faith.
We will continue from this thought next week as we look deeper into the Genuiness of our love and pursuit of God.