Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Seek God & Be Sought by God: Obeying the Magnetic tug at your Heart

"Bruce Larson tells how he helped people struggling to surrender their lives to Christ:

For many years I worked in New York City and counseled at my office any number of people who were wrestling with this yes-or-no decision. Often I would suggest they walk with me from my office down to the RCA Building on Fifth Avenue. In the entrance of that building is a gigantic statue of Atlas, a beautifully proportioned man who, with all his muscles straining, is holding the world upon his shoulders. There he is, the most powerfully built man in the world, and he can barely stand up under this burden. 'Now that's one way to live,' I would point out to my companion, 'trying to carry the world on your shoulders. But now come across the street with me.'

"On the other side of Fifth Avenue is Saint Patrick's Cathedral, and there behind the high altar is a little shrine of the boy Jesus, perhaps eight or nine years old, and with no effort he is holding the world in one hand. My point was illustrated graphically.

"We have a choice. We can carry the world on our shoulders, or we can say, 'I give up, Lord; here's my life. I give you my world, the whole world.'" -Bruce Larson, Believe and Belong.

Isaiah 55:6-7, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

We can try to run our own lives, our we can let God run our lives. But the weight of the world is too heavy. And we were never meant to live apart from God. We were always meant to live and be guided by God. And then we can fulfill our purposes in life.

We’re talking about the way in which God draws us to Himself. Did you know God is always drawing you toward himself? It’s true.

God was actively drawing us for much of our lives, toward His son Jesus Christ, toward the cross, inviting us to draw near and receive His son Jesus as savior.

As the word says John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

Yet also after becoming a Christian, after coming to know Jesus, we are continuously drawn to our heavenly Father over and over again.

Jeanne Guyon in her book refers to this as the law of central tendency. She says…

“As you come into this deeper level of knowing the Lord, you will eventually come to discover a principle I will call the law of central tendency. What do I mean by the law of central tendency? As you continue holding your soul deep in your inward parts, you will discover that God has a magnetic attracting quality! Your God is like a magnet! The Lord naturally draws you more and more toward Himself.” -Jeanne Guyon, Ch. 11

There is a magnetic draw toward God within me, that much is certain. I will often be playing a videogame, or watching a movie, or doing something, and I will feel the draw to sit down on the floor and begin talking to my God. Or I feel the tug to grab my Bible from the table and open it up and read.

Point number one today is to simply obey that calling when you feel it. As you grow as a Christian more and more you’ll feel the tug to spend time with God. Simply agree with that tug and go spend time with God.

It’s the call of love and fellowship. God wants to be with you. Respond by spending time with Him.

As the word says in Hebrews 10:22 “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Draw near to God, with a full heart, loving God with all your heart. And believe Jesus really loves you and wants to be with you too!

Yet there is also a magnetic push away from God as well. For an unbeliever, someone who rejects God, they may spend many years of their lives trying to avoid God. They do everything they can to avoid even the thought of God. Modern society is like that, the concept of God excluded. Watch a sitcom or almost any tv show or sports event, no mention of God is allowed. Go to public school or university, the thought of God is not even allowed. They exclude God, they don’t want to think about God. They are drawn away from God by their flesh.

I call them the “not interested” crowd. They just don’t care. I remember talking to a woman once, and she said I don’t need God, I have everything I need. I see others who simply ignore God, they have their families, jobs, vacations, sports events, and there is no room for God.

But such people are not hopeless. Pray for them. And you will begin to see something change, where they begin to hunger for God, and go from fleeing from God, to beginning to move toward God.

1 Cor 2:14 says, “But the natural man perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Yet at the same time, even after becoming a Christian, we can run and hide from God. We can get distracted with our pleasures and then not want to spend time with God. I’ve had this happen many a time, I get focused on some silly pleasure and I don’t want to go pray or spend time with God. But God will often convince me, convict me by the Spirit, to come and spend time with Him. But sometimes I resist, like a stubborn child who doesn’t want to come to supper because he’s playing with his toys.

I remember one time I woke up very early and was playing an awful videogame called NBA Jam. And it’s super hard. I was getting so mad and upset. And I had to go to school soon. My mom came and tried to get me to go. But I got mad and yelled at her, and she shut off my game. Oh I was mad. But she was right, I needed to get ready. Sometimes when we’re mad it’s harder to do the right thing. But God will help us.

I think the main idea here, second point, is to let God draw us to Himself. Obey that call to come. Understand at times you may resist it. But listen to the Spirit, and give yourself permission to simply come to him.

Also understand that the Christian life is a journey of continuously being drawn and drawing yourself toward God. It’s not over, it’s just begun.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This implies a continuous active seeking after God and his word. Everyday. Keep Seeking God’s kingdom first.

And as you do that more and more you’re going to find, one, I have a new heart. I’m different than I was before. Two, out of that new heart, I have a whole new way of life. I’m acting differently.

As the word says, John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”

You will find where you once had a rock solid selfish heart, that instead streams of living water are flowing from it.

That’s point number three, seek God continuously, and your heart will become a fountain of life.

Next, what might cause problems for us in this seeking after God and finding God? One thing we need to be aware of is that we have an enemy. And that enemy is trying to disrupt our walk with God.

I see it with every single member of our church. God does something in their lives. Then demons try to disrupt. If they’re attending church they try to get you sick, or cause an injury. They try to distract you with past relationships. Pretty soon your ex is calling. I remember a good friend of mine was trying to get clean from methamphetamine. And he was doing good, then he randomly finds a bag of meth on the street. The enemy is cunning and trying to harm us and trip us up.

The word of God says, Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

And in that same scripture it tells us, to put on the full armor of God to stand against the schemes of the evil one.

Watch for enemy plots. You’ll notice it’s very odd and tempting. In that moment know, this is from the enemy, and I’m going to resist and reject this temptation. In that moment pray and ask God for help. And you will have the victory.

That’s point number four, recognize there is a enemy, don’t be afraid, but stand in faith and take steps toward victory.

Madam Guyon points us to a final area of concern, things we hold on to in life. What might that be? A habit. A sin. Even just something that distracts us from God. And God wants to remove it from us. But sometimes we fight God in it.

Here’s what she says… “Thank God, sometimes your Lord, out of His boundless love, strikes the burden violently from your hand. It is then that you realize just how very much you had been hindered and held back. Dear Christian, only allow everything to drop. How? Simply withdraw your hands from self; withdraw your hands from every other person and all things. Of course, that is something of a sacrifice. It can even be called a crucifixion. But you will be amazed to find that there is only a very short space between your sacrifice and your resurrection!” -Jeanne Guyon, Ch. 11

Whenever we allow God to strike something from our lives, it’s a sacrifice. We often hold very tightly to what we’re used to. But if we can find a way to let God remove it, we’ll often very quickly see just how much it was distracting us from God, and disrupting our walk with Him.

There have been numerous little things God has removed from my life to build me up. Smoking cigarettes was one. Soda was one, I was drinking four, five, six pops a day. And the Lord dealt with it. Another was not tithing. I didn’t want to give of my funds. And God corrected me on that. Another was excessively violent videogames, God nudged me to discontinue that. Another was certain movies I would watch that were not right for me to be watching.

It might be something God is adding, it might be something God is removing, but I encourage you, allow God to remove whatever the issue might be. Trust Him. Take a leap of faith. I’m sure you know deep within what he’s saying to you. You may be resisting it right now. But take a leap and simply let Him have it. See what happens. You might be surprised how blessed you are as a result.

That’s our fifth point today, let God remove the thing you’re holding onto. And watch how your walk with God improves.

In conclusion, remember these two principles: One, Christ is seeking you. Second, you must seek God. It will go back and forth, at times you’ll be seeking Him, other times he’ll be pursuing you. It’s a back and forth of a relationship. In all this, learn eventually to seek God first, and put God first, and keep God first. And you’ll then be seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness, and as a result, he’ll add every good thing to you, and take away that which is not his best for you.

Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”

To review today…

1. Obey the magnetic tug at your heart to spend time with God

2. The Christian life is a continuous process of letting God draw us, and drawing near to Him

3. As you practice seeking God, your heart will become a fountain of life

4. Demons will attempt to disrupt your walk with God, but stand firm in faith

5. If you’re holding onto something destructive, let God remove it from you (or let Him add something new)