Why don’t people seek God with their whole heart? Why don’t I seek God with all my heart at times? I’ve pondered that question quite a bit over the last few years. My goal in this article is to address that question. I’ll warn you that I’m going to say some tough stuff, but then I’m going diagnose the real problem and then get to the cure. I just wanted to warn you so you can stop reading now if you need to. Ok, here it goes! Take a look at Luke 9:57-62:
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In this account Jesus invites three people to follow Him and all say they will, but they all have other priorities that delay their obedience. This is a sign we aren’t seeking God with our whole heart. The minute, “let me first” enters into our heart and decision making we have just made ourselves a god to ourselves. Jesus stopped being Lord over certain parts of our lives when we tell Him no or let me first. The actions we take reveal what is truly in our heart.
This leads the inquisitive part of me to ask why do we do this? I’ve been saved and walking with Jesus long enough to know my willpower will never help me obey him so I have to get to the heart of the issue to understand how to obey. That’s why I ask, “Why?”
As I was thinking about these things recently, the Holy Spirit prompted me to look at the original sin. Adam and Eve were in the garden, literally living in perfection and had no lack of anything, yet Satan talked them into sinning against God. How did he do this?
Genesis 3 records the account of what happened. Satan got Eve to focus on the one tree God told her not to eat of instead of focusing on the hundreds, maybe thousands of trees she could have eaten from. He moved her from a place of contentment to a place to where she felt like she was in lack. He then told her that God didn’t want her to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because her eyes would be opened and she would be like God.
It’s amazing that a talking snake got a woman who was living in perfection discontent and then told her God was holding out on her because He doesn’t want her to be like Him. Satan got her to question the true nature of God. This was the root problem of why Eve couldn’t obey.
I submit this is why you and I struggle to give all of our hearts to God at times. Satan gets us to question God’s nature and character when God asks us to do something that is difficult. Somewhere in our subconscious or the deep recesses of our hearts we stop seeing Him as good so we don’t want to yield. If we really believed that if we obeyed fully things would always work out for our best we would yield. The scripture says God is Love. Would Love Himself ask you and I to do things that would hurt us? I don’t think so.
Discontentment unchecked will always cause us to question the true nature of God. This will cause us to attempt to protect ourselves instead of surrendering fully. So what’s the cure?
First, realizing He is a good God. He gave Jesus for us when we didn’t have anything going for us to win us back. Think about it, what good act did you or I or Adam or whoever do to get God to send Jesus? Nothing. God prophesied the plan of redemption right after Adam and Eve sinned. They didn’t come up with the idea or even ask God to do it. It was God’s idea. That’s love with no conditions. God didn’t wait for Adam and Eve to get their act together or seek Him or meet some standard, but He met them at their point of weakness and depravity and prophesied the answer.
Romans 8:32 says that he who didn’t withhold his son from us, how will he not freely give of us all things. He will freely give us all things. ALL THINGS! What does that say about His character and nature? Think about it. We didn’t deserve that promise. He came up with it. It says He is good! Real good! Amazingly, too good to be true good!
The second thing we must do is be thankful. We do this by focusing on His goodness and not our perceived lack or suffering if we surrender fully. The bottom line is you and I don’t obey because we think we are better off to not obey, which is just like Eve. If we acknowledge He is always good and protect our heart by keeping an attitude of gratitude and always thank Him, there won’t be any place in our heart to get discontented. This gives us power to obey!
One of the by-products of a person filled with the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:19-20 is praising God and being thankful. And before you are say, “Well you don’t know what I’m going through,” I say to you to remember what the guy who wrote those words went through. He was beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, abandoned, and left for dead. Paul was truly persecuted. He’d trade problems with most of us in a second.
We have to be intentional to praise God when He asks us to do things that feel like are killing us. The truth is 99% of the time those things aren’t killing us. The fact we feel like they are is a sign remember our perception is off. An ungrateful heart causes our perception to be off so we have to be intentional to thank Him for the good He has done for us in the scriptures and personally.
To give a natural example of good perception and being an intentional choice, I had to be intentional to put contacts in this morning because I’m near-sighted. That means my ability to perceive with my eyes is off. I don’t see a lot of the truth when my contacts aren’t in, the same as we don’t see a lot of the truth when we aren’t thankful.
I hope this article has encouraged you in your walk with the Lord. I hope you see Jesus more clearly than you ever have! When we see Him clearly as perfectly good, we will have the capacity to obey! That’s they key to seeking Him with your whole heart! If you’d like to learn more on this topic, check out this message I taught at Grace Life Church. It’s one my favorites!