Footsteps to Follow: With all your heart
On the desk in my office, there is a sculpture that was given to me by a church member and friend who went home to be with the Lord many years ago. The sculpture is of a man kneeling, leaning on a chair, and praying with a Bible next to him on the floor.
The placard on the sculpture is emblazoned with the words of Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (NIV). Many times, as I sit at my desk, I look at the man praying, and I reflect on my own prayer life and ask if I am truly living out the words of Jeremiah 29:13.
In our world, many people are seeking after things. Some are seeking answers, some are seeking peace, some are seeking a better life, some are seeking an end to pain, and some are seeking for the world to change. In the song “Good, Good Father” Chris Tomlin sings that “we’re all searching for answers only You [God] provide” (Barrett, Pat and Tony Brown).
As a believer, I have to agree with that assertion. While not all of us realize or frame our search that way, what we are looking and longing for is truly found in a relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ. And the wonderful promise of that verse that adorns the sculpture in my office is that, if we seek God, we will surely find Him.
But the verse reminds us that there is a way we must seek God if we want to find Him. We must put aside our other pursuits and seek God with all our hearts. With this addition, the verse becomes challenging for all of us because, as sinners, we have hearts that are divided and deceitful. Our hearts do not just seek after God, they seek after so many other things.
Sometimes our hearts seek pleasure. We make decisions based on what feels good and what is easy, but this does not get us anywhere because, as Solomon reminds us in the book of Ecclesiastes, pleasure is fleeting and meaningless in the end. Sometimes our hearts seek victory, and we desire to be right. In our world that is so divided on so many issues, we seek above all else to be right and to win the argument. While this may feel good and certainly God does value the truth, many times this pursuit pushes us and others further away from God in the process.
So what are we to do? How can we deal with our divided hearts and seek God so that we might find Him? The process begins by submitting ourselves to God and surrendering our hearts to Him. Only when we allow the Lord to have complete control over our plans and lives can we be given a new heart that seeks after Him.
As I gaze again at that sculpture, I am reminded that I need to submit myself to God, and that comes not just from kneeling to pray but by asking that God’s will would be done, not just in the world but in my life.
My prayer must first be like the prayer of Jesus as he prepared to go to the cross on my behalf: “Father,… not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Rev. Robert Rice, pastor, Muncy Baptist Church, An American Baptist Church, 11 W. Penn St., Muncy, muncybaptistchurch.org