By Colleen Donahue
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I was looking for an entrance onto a main highway heading west while driving in a congested, unfamiliar part of a city. Looking ahead I saw the familiar blue highway sign and proceeded towards it glad to have found my entrance. But once on the ramp I was surprised to find 4-5 policemen pulling each car over. I thought something terrible had happened and they were letting us know.
To my surprise, I was being issued a ticket! “What for?” I asked. “You’re getting a HOV violation,” he responded. (HOV means High Occupancy Vehicles and is a system in congested cities for rewarding drivers that are carrying more than just the driver.) “ But I saw the highway entrance sign and thought this was the way onto it!” I pleaded. “Ma am, there were also three signs telling you that this was the entrance for HOV vehicles only.” I didn’t say anything more. I had seen only the familiar highway entrance sign but had missed the 3 warnings that this entrance was for HOV vehicles only. I was without excuse and about to pay dearly for my lack of observation.
Now God has given to all of us three tangible ways to seek and find Him. You might say they are the road signs in our life. Each of us has one lifetime to come to know God. If we see only what we want to see and miss all the other signs then when we finish this life and come to our time of reckoning with God we will be without excuse and deserving of our punishment.
Eternity In Our Hearts
It is God Himself that puts the desire to know Him within us. He created us for a relationship with Himself and is eager that we would want it. But God also made us with free will, which is the only way love can exist. Forced love is not love. Every one of us was made with eternity inside our hearts and therefore what is finite can never satisfy us completely. Temporal satisfactions always fade and leave us with still more hunger.
But How Do You Seek a Relationship With Someone You Can’t See?
God anticipated that question and gave us three physical, tangible ways to find Him.
I. Finding God In His Creation
God made us a wonderful playground to live out our lives. He gave us lovely scenery to look at, fields to run in, water to swim in, fresh air to breath, birds to listen to, flowers to smell and cute dogs to pet. Our five senses experience His creation everyday. All of creation points back to an ingenious God who hasn’t missed a detail.
Man himself is the most ingenious of all God’s creatures. Doctors and scientists still marvel at the intricacies of the human body while they continue to discover more. There seems to be no end to the depth and complexity of man. He is the only one of all things created that is made in God’s own image. A very personal God has made man to operate as He Himself does. We alone of all creation have the potential to have a relationship with our Creator. If we never read a book or hear a preacher we would still have all we need to know about God from the things he has made.
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20) This will be the answer to our plea, “But I never heard, I never saw, nobody told me….. “
II. Finding God Through His Word
From early on in man’s history God inspired men to pass along and then write down the words He spoke to them. So men, moved by God’s Spirit spoke and wrote God’s word. Men were the scribes but God is the author. The sum of these writings make up the Bible.
A book is only as reliable and trustworthy as its author and this Bible was set forth by God who was “in the beginning” and who knows the end from the beginning -- someone who is eternal. Many have described the Bible as our owner’s manual. Since God made us, He knows how we are to live. He knows what will keep us healthy in mind, body and spirit. He knows what will make us happy. He knows what will satisfy us on every level. He also knows what will make us sick and the things that will cause us to stumble and fall. It’s all in the manual. But manuals are dry and rigid and boring. Unlike a manual, the Bible is living. It’s food for our souls and spirits set forth in history, stories, poems, songs and revelations.
A Book To Be Examined
God’s word read and applied is addictive. We want more and more of it because in its pages we come to know its author and we want more and more of HIM. All who have dared to seek God by reading His word and yearning for His truth have been satisfied. They have found his word to be God’s personal word to their heart, which is never dry and boring.
We are meant to “receive” God’s word and then examine it for the truth ourselves. God actually invites us to “test Him” and see if He doesn’t do what he has said. When we start reading and studying the Bible we do so a little like that with our car manual. We have a problem, we have a question, we need an answer and so we go to the manual – God’s word. It’s a book for seekers -- not for casual inquirers. For diligent seekers the Word will become food for your soul and spirit. You’ll receive the answers to your questions along with much more. It will give light and understanding and correction. But it will also become joy to your heart.
When we are careful to follow its instructions we become like a discerning son. We start to change and become like God’s son Jesus who was the firstborn of many brothers and sisters, which is what we become. Seeking the Bible for problems and their answers will give way to knowing God Himself. For God does not dispense “pills” to cure our problems. Instead, He gives us His Son and in Jesus we “have it all.” Seeking God’s word will always point us to God’s Son, which is the third tangible way given to man to know God.
III. A Third Way to Seek & Know God
Man Declares His Independence
Right from the beginning, man has used his free will to operate apart from God. Instead of obeying Him, our first parents (Adam and Eve) “did their own thing” and the world was forever changed. Sin entered into the universe and from then on each of us was “born in sin.” God being holy and righteous can’t have a relationship with what is full of sin, self and independence, which is what man had become. And so man was cut off from knowing God personally.
Why Can’t God Have a Relationship With Sinful Men?
Let’s say you have a disobedient son. He will not obey what you ask him to do; he goes his own way, defies what you say to him, doesn’t trust you and sneaks around behind your back. Can you have a relationship with him? No! Your relationship with your son has turned into a disciplinary, warden type of role. You’re responsible for him as a parent so you feed and cloth him, but if he doesn’t want to trust you, love you or even be around you there is no relationship. You are still his parent and he is still your child but there is no relationship.
So it is between God and us. The analogy with parent/child breaks down on one major point. A holy God can’t have relationship with sin and man cannot atone for his own sin. We are guilty and as such deserve death. But God gives to us another way to seek Him.
We Can Know God Through His Son
It is through God’s son Jesus Christ, that we have a clear picture of God. Jesus is not just another prophet. He is God’s Son that came in real time history so that we could get to know His Father. God has not given us a method. He has given us His Son to be our way back to God.
Jesus came expressly to earth to save us from the sin and bondage that keep us from knowing God. He is our link with God. No one can come to God except through His Son. His death on the cross became the atoning sacrifice for our sins so that God no longer counts our sins against us. He has made you and I alive in Christ and has forgiven all our sins.
Does that mean we DON'T have to try and clean ourselves up before we start to seek God? That’s right! Our part is to……..
-recognize that we are sinners living independently from God,
-believe that Christ’s death on the Cross was the atonement for that sin,
-and then go home.
Go back to your Father and yearn for that relationship with Him that you’ve been missing out on. We are to commit our lives back to God as His obedient children.
Christ’s Spirit Left To Live With Us
After his death and resurrection Jesus left us his Spirit to live within the heart of any man seeking for God. Through Jesus we have access to the Father by this Spirit. When we yearn for Jesus in gratitude for all that He has done for us (ie. His death on the cross) we will begin to experience the fullness of God. For in Christ, all the fullness of God lives in bodily form and we have been given that fullness in Christ. Christ’s Spirit – called the Holy Spirit – is our personal guide to seeking and knowing God.
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you………But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” John 14:26 & John 16:13
How Do We Know When We Have Come To Know God?
When we obey Him! When we not only read the Bible but also start to do what it says. When we listen to our conscience and do what it’s prompting us to do. When we start to obey, we are no longer like an unruly son that defiantly does what he wants. We live knowing that we have a Father in Heaven that loves us, communicates with us and has only good things planned for us. You’ll KNOW when you have come to know God.
Do you already feel you know God but are still not satisfied? Job, a man written about in the Old Testament, was just such a man as you. He was a blameless and upright man who feared God and kept far from all sin and evil. A better man could not be found. But after a time of suffering, hardship and questioning God, Job discovered something or (shall we say someone) for himself. He said, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee.”
In other words, he was like so many of us. We have heard about God from others. We acknowledge Him, try to obey him and work at keeping our lives blameless and upright. But then comes a day when our seeking leads us deeper and we realize that all we knew of God before was second hand. Suddenly our eyes are open and we “see” God for ourselves – firsthand! Everything before this time has just been through “the hearing of the ear” but now OUR EYES see God!
He’s Waiting For You!
No one can tell you how you are to love your wife or husband or friend or child. And so an article on how to seek for God can only go so far. Creation, God’s Word and God’s Son are all there for you and pointing you to the one who loves you and looks forward to a relationship with you. This website will focus on seeking God through his word which in turn will point you to his Son Jesus. Make a decision to start today-- you won’t be disappointed.
For further study on seeking God: Seeking God - 3 part course