SEEK JESUS // Morgan Gilbert
I’ve been reading through “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers this year. A few weeks ago, I read a devotional Chambers wrote, that was titled “Do you now believe?” and centered on John 16:30-32, and it stopped me in my tracks.
“Many Christian workers have left Jesus Christ alone and yet tried to serve Him out of a sense of duty, or because they sense a need as a result of their own discernment. The reason for this is actually the absence of the resurrection life of Jesus. Our soul has gotten out of intimate contact with God by leaning on our own religious understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6)… We need to rely on the resurrection life of Jesus on a much deeper level than we do now. We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them. He cannot bless them; it is not in His realm to do so, and those decisions are severed from reality. If we do something simply out of a sense of duty, we are trying to live up to a standard that competes with Jesus Christ… We have put our sense of duty on the throne of our life, instead of enthroning the resurrection life of Jesus.”
The weight of these words hit me at once. This has been my life the past few months, even the past couple of years. There have been so many plans I’ve tried to pursue that haven’t taken root, so many things my heart has cried out for but God hasn’t said “Yes” to, and even so many opportunities that I’ve taken but the end result just hasn’t worked out exactly how I thought it would. They are good things that would glorify God if I were to do them or if the end result had turned out how my mind had imagined them, so it’s not like I was hoping for some unreasonable thing. God, I thought this is what could serve You best… why haven’t You opened the door to this opportunity? God, I did this to serve You… why do I feel like I could’ve done better? God, is this really what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?
The plans I’ve wanted to pursue but couldn’t, the desires I’ve cried out for but haven’t been told “Yes” on, and even the good things I’ve done that didn’t quite have the effect I thought they would haven’t worked out because I’ve pursued them from a sense of my own duty and discernment of the ways of God rather than pursuing God Himself. Not to say that they would have worked out if I had pursued only Him, but rather I was telling God that I thought He needed to be served in a particular way and that I was going to please Him by doing so. I was telling Him that what I wanted to do was the best thing to draw closer to Him and to glorify Him. What arrogance! Even if that wasn’t what I was intentionally trying to say, my actions and thoughts proved otherwise. However, isn’t that so often how we all act? Isn’t that what Chambers was trying to communicate when he wrote, “We should get in the habit of continually seeking His counsel on everything, instead of making our own commonsense decisions and then asking Him to bless them”? We are encouraged to ask God for things that glorify Him and to cry out the deepest desires of our hearts to Him, but what isn’t okay is acting on these prayers and desires without first being called by God to do them. We cannot enthrone our own decisions, no matter how good they may be or how much God-glorifying potential they may have. We must live in the resurrection life of Jesus. We must first be “buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4) and our hearts must echo Paul’s heart when he said, “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being confirmed to His death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). We must strive to know Christ in both His death and suffering and in His resurrection. Our sole focus must be the Cross, for it is our only hope and our promise of future glory.
I pray that no matter what decision you’re facing, trial you’re enduring, or answer you’re seeking, that you will push into the intimate presence of God, our own Holy of Holies, and let it be your life source. Our only goal should be to seek Jesus Himself. The other things will come when you are pursuing Him as you should. Most of the time that is easier said than done, but it is the most rewarding fight you can fight. Stop fighting God and start fighting for Him in your own heart. Everything else will work out if you will just do that, I promise (Matthew 6:25-34). Everything He asks you to do and gives to you will be the best possible thing for you because it will be what glorifies Him most. Life is so much more satisfying when we live in total surrender to God.
Beloved, learn to yield. Do not leave Him and yet try to serve Him out of duty or discernment. Do not try to serve Him the way you think He wants to be served instead of the service He is actually calling you to. Do you want to be content with where you are? Seek Jesus. Do you want to suffer well during trials? Seek Jesus. Do you want to see sanctification happen in your life? Seek Jesus. Do you want guidance on what to do with your summer? Seek Jesus. Seek Him by daily digging into the Word. Seek Him by plugging into the Gospel community around you. Seek Him by spending time in prayer. Seek Him by loving others. If you want a very practical step in how to seek Him, I would encourage you to consider Mountain Project. Is it the only way to seek Jesus? No. Is it the best way to seek Jesus? Honestly, only God can answer that question for you. However, is it one of the better ways you can spend your summer? Absolutely. You will be challenged daily to seek Jesus, which will be hard but you will not be disappointed at the end. Wherever you are and whatever you may do, please draw close to God. He is everything, and all fullness of life is found in Him.
“What a broad world to roam in, what a sea to swim in is this God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is eternal… He is immutable… He is omniscient… Love and mercy and righteousness are His, and holiness so ineffable that no comparisons or figures will avail to express it… God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is.” – A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
Morgan Gilbert is from Murfreesboro, TN, and now works as a Kitchen and Bath Designer in Cookeville, TN. She graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Ecology with a focus in Housing and Design. She spent two summers at Mountain Project during 2013-2014. When she's not trying to master the "adulting" thing, she enjoys hanging out with friends and trying her hand at different crafts.