The other day I was playing with my almost two-year old son Luke when he informed me we would be engaging in an rousing game of hide and seek. Now, in our house, under Luke’s rule (and yes I meant “rule” not “rules”), playing hide and seek means he tells us where to hide. He will then go wait for us to hide, and then we yell for him to come and find us. It’s a rather short game.
This time Luke told me to hide in a little nook created by the wall, chair, and couch in our living room. I hid, he found me. He then told me to hide there I again. I hid, he found me. Again he told me to hide there. I hid, he found me. Once more he told me to hide there. But this time I wasn’t going to play along. My competitiveness (yes with my 2 year-old. Don’t judge me) and my desire to teach him the world doesn’t work that way (yes with my 2 year-old. Don’t judge me) kicked in and I hid behind the couch. I didn’t move far, just far enough that he wouldn’t be able to see when he looked to where he thought I was going to be.
I called for him to come find daddy. He looked. I wasn’t there.
Luke began to wander around the living room asking where I was. He wasn’t anxious or worried, just confused. And he really wasn’t looking hard. He just sort of stood in the middle of room where he could see where I should have been. Even though he knew I wasn’t in the previous spot he continued to stand and look at that one spot saying, “Where’s daddy?”
As I hid and listened to him these verses popped in my head.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13
“Seek and you will find.” -Matthew 7:7
How often do we really seek God out? With all our heart?
Or do we tell God where he should go hide so we can find him? And then when he isn’t where he supposed to be we begin to wander aimlessly, casually calling to see if he will answer, but we don’t really look.
We just continue to do what we have always have done hoping that God will show up where he has in the past.
How many times have we experienced God in a moment of worship, or on a mission trip, or reading a book, or by some routine only to find those things are later ineffective? So we experienced God during a time of worship with a particular song, and now that song becomes the go-to song to find God, but after a while its ability to bring a transcendent experience dries up. But yet we continue to go back to it. In our minds, this is how you experience God. Or it’s this book, this preacher, this type of mission work, this routine or whatever. And what used to work, no longer does. But we don’t try something new. We don’t look harder, we begin to blame the thing. The book isn’t deep enough. The song is too poppy (which is probably true). This preacher isn’t as good as that preacher. Now the thing that was the vehicle ushering us to the presence of God becomes the thing we go to in order to experience God rather than going to God to experience God.
God isn’t in the book or the song or the sermon, he is in you. And that isn’t some New Age bull, that’s the Bible. Paul said, “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” In Colossians Paul says the mystery of the faith is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The questions is, if that is true, what does it mean to seek God with all your heart?
I don’t think it means finding your true self. That’s hogwash. Your true self is found when you find Christ. Your true self isn’t rooted in you, but it is rooted in your heavenly Father who calls you son or daughter.
We find more of God in our lives when we begin to live more of God’s life in our life. The reality is most of us know everything we need to know about being disciples of Jesus. We know. We don’t do. Therein lies the secret. If you want to experience more of God, if you want to seek him with all your heart, if you want to find him, then do what he says.
Jesus says, “If you hold to my teachings (read, if you obey my teachings) then you will really be my disciples, and you will know the truth; and the truth will set you free.” Experiencing more of God does not come through more songs, more worship services attended, more sermons listened to, or more books read. Experiencing God comes from living more of God’s life.
And the only way you will do that is if you, truly with all your heart, want to find Him.