Tuesday, November 1, 2016

When Someone Is Seeking Christ

Everyone needs Christ, but not everyone seeks Him. And while I do believe there is a time in life where each person is drawn to Him and can observe and begin to know Him (Romans 1:20), they don’t all stay the course or get to salvation.

That is the Parable of the Sower (please read all of Matthew 13. The verses below are Jesus’ explanation of the parable):

“Listen to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:18-23.

We see this also in the verses for which this blog is named:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Once someone actively pursues Christ in response to the effective call of God (even unbeknownst to them), it has been my experience that often something about that person begins to change:

*They may take up a sudden or unexplainable interest in literature or “spiritual” writings (that are frequently New Age in content).

*They may put confidence in horoscopes or rote prayers.

*Antsy for self-improvement or self-worth, they may sign up for music lessons, art classes or studies in history.

*Some may seek to assuage that “Is this all there is to life?” wanderlust through travel or learning about another culture.

*A renewed or even first commitment to exercise and physical fitness may kick in, even providing the endorphins for a fresh outlook and hope in life.

*Some may feel the tug of philanthropy or theological universalism.

These activities and pursuits—along with the authors, experts and inspirational heroes/heroines associated with them—tend to become worshipped and adored for their intellectual or sacred essence. 

But alas, the person searching remains unquenched.

I, too, found myself on this vision-quest-of-relevance at one time. For many years I journeyed as a roving groupie to poets, Taoism, Trek Bicycles, environmentalists, symphonic composers, rock musicians and the latest cause celebre. And yet, as Bono so succinctly crooned, I still hadn’t found what I was looking for.

Whether God intended such a circuitous route, I can’t say. All I know is that that’s the itinerary I created for myself. And as each fad, passion, bike trip, running race, fine wine, grand vacation and educational accomplishment came and went, I was no further along in contentment, joy, worthiness or answers.

God, in His mercy and illogically-seeming perfect timing, was there with me through it all. As each hobby, counterfeit passion and self-imposed resolution inevitably lost its staying power, I finally came to the end of myself. Only then did I see God. And once I saw Him, I desired to know Him. And in coming to know Him, He revealed Christ.

And because only Jesus, thankfully, is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), it follows that it’s not up to me to create, devise, conjure-up or self-actualize God.

What sadness that I had tried to formulate, force and be my own god when the true God was waiting for me! What joy that He did wait! What relief that my eyes, at last, opened! What peace that my identity is Christ and that I know that and am affirmed in Him (I no longer have to go looking for His affirmation and identity in other things)! What love! What forgiveness!

I am home! It is Christ!

copyright Barb Harwood

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” 1 John 3:1

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Ephesians 1:18-21

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