The concept of seeking and serving God with one’s whole heart was set forth by Jesus when He said that the first and greatest commandment was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This is familiar to the modern Christian.
Thus, Christians today can appreciate what God said to Jewish exiles in Babylon: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). This verse is two verses after the one which says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). This latter verse is being quoted widely, and its popularity is understandable. We want to believe that God does good things for us. But note, that the experience of the good things depends on our wanting to know God. How devoted we are to the process of seeking God will determine whether we receive the results of His good plans for us.
Many people attend church once or twice and then complain that they don’t find anything satisfying in the experience. Others are not regular in their attendance to the assembly of the saints and worship, study, social fellowship and service. These are so disconnected from the Body of Christ; their experiences are disappointing. Many more do not devote time to the study of God’s word. It was designed by Him to equip godly men and women (2 Timothy 3:17), but the time necessary to understanding, discernment, and application of truth is not devoted. Many others so prefer the fulfillment of their own wishes, desires, and passions that the simple, unadorned worship God designed is not enough for them. They are constantly looking for the new experience. Seeking to fulfill your own heart’s desires rather than God’s is idolatry.
Seeking is the key. But not seeking your own way. The Lord said finding Him depends on “seeking [Him] with all your heart.” In fact, He promised that you will find Him if your whole heart is devoted to the effort. No partial effort will be sufficient. No haphazard effort will suffice. Priorities will have to be set. For it is His kingdom and His righteousness which have to be sought first (Matthew 6:33). You have to apply yourself. You have to work at being His child. You have to “always obey, continuing to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Drawing near to God requires humility, perseverance, resistance of the devil, single-mindedness, and purity of heart (James 4:7-8). You will have to “handle the word of truth correctly” in order to “present yourself to God as one approved” (2 Timothy 2:15). The effort is one of vigilance and steadfastness, for you are to “always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord …” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
The apostle Paul made a wonderful declaration. He did so by inspiration. Thus, we find it to be in complete harmony with the promise made in Jeremiah 29:13. The declaration is this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Loving Him calls for our complete dedication to His purpose – and not our own. Loving Him calls for our complete adoration of Him. Loving Him calls for us to be wholehearted in seeking Him. If you truly want the good things, you will seek Him with all your heart.
• Frank J Daniels, pulpit minister & teacher