Pursuing God Relentlessly
Pursuing God Relentlessly. What does that mean? And why do we even want to know about it? Let’s talk about that. Come with me as we explore this whole “pursuing God relentlessly” idea.
If you’ve spent any time at all reading the Bible, you may have noticed that many of the people in the Bible pursued God relentlessly. They didn’t just casually follow Him. They followed Him with abandon.
You might notice that many people gave up everything they had and followed God with a tireless passion. Their lives were turned upside down because of this passion. They gave up everything they knew and left it all behind in an effort to be who God wanted them to be and do what He wanted them to do.
A Wide Variety of People
Prophets, disciples, apostles and more. They all had that one trait in common. In essence, they could have been considered spiritual vagabonds. They surrendered themselves wholeheartedly to God and spent the remainder of their days walking with Him.
For those in the Old Testament, it meant pursuing Him based solely on their faith. They had never seen God in person. They moved only based on what they heard from Him and what they saw as various “signs”.
Genesis 12:1 (NKJV) 1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
In the New Testament, people such as John the Baptist walked completely by faith until they saw Jesus in the flesh. And then, seeing Him in person set them on fire and made their passion burn even stronger for their Messiah.
When Jesus came and lived among the people, lives were turned upside down by the thousands, and perhaps even by tens of thousands. The world was never the same once Jesus had shown Himself to the people and walked among them.
After His resurrection and ascension, Christianity exploded. People’s hearts were set ablaze with faith and they did whatever was necessary to follow “the way”. The disciples were baptising people in huge numbers, as they all professed their faith in Jesus.
Acts 2:41 (NKJV) 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
What About now, Over 2,000 Years Later?
Fast forward over 2,000 years, to today. Where are our hearts at? Are we pursuing God relentlessly? How many of us have hearts that are on fire for Jesus, doing anything and everything necessary to seek Him and grow a rock-solid relationship with Him?
It’s safe to say that very few of us are doing that. Times have changed. Most people today spend more time and effort chasing the things of this world than they do chasing God.
And please don’t take that as a personal insult. It’s not meant to be that at all. It’s just a cold, hard truth that we all need to face if we truly want to see our walk with God flourish.
The worst part is that the blame for the current condition of the body of Christ can’t be laid solely on one thing. It’s been a long process, getting to where we’re at today. Some of it can be blamed on laziness on our part; a sheer lack of desire and passion for God.
Some of it can also be blamed on the things that have been taught over the last few decades. We have been told that God is a God of material blessings. So we pursue the blessings.
We have been told that God is a God of miracles. So we pursue the miracles.
We have been told that God wants us to live lives of sheer happiness, with no worries, no problems and nothing bad ever happening. So we pursue the perfect life.
But in all of this pursuing, we never pursue God himself. Instead, we chase after the things that He can bless us with.
The Things We Need From God
We all have need of things. It’s just part of life. And there’s nothing wrong with asking God for help with those things that we need. In fact, He wants us to ask Him!
Matthew 7:7 (NKJV) 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
So it’s good that we ask God for what we need. But if we’re not careful, we might fall into trouble with this in two different areas.
First, we get greedy in our asking. Sometimes we have trouble separating our needs from our wants, and we end up spending our time and energy treating God like a piggy bank, making demands for all of the luxuries we think will make us happy.
Even worse, though, is that we think God owes us everything. Somewhere along the way, we somehow came up with the twisted idea that because we are a child of God that He is obligated to just give us stuff without us having to lift a finger. Let me explain.
Many of the things that have been taught in the church have caused us to believe that all we need to do is profess to be a believer and that blessings will accumulate in some mysterious way, and that we don’t have any obligation on our end to do anything to obtain those blessings.
But This is Very Far From The Truth
The church has developed a mentality that wants to do nothing, but yet receive everything.
We don’t want to have to make any effort on our part anymore. We just want to sit by and wait for God to hand it to us, drop it into our laps, so to speak.
But God doesn’t work that we way. He tells us to pursue Him, to draw near to Him, and to seek Him. Then and only then will we find Him and get what it is that we need.
James 4:8 (NKJV) 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Actions Speak Louder
There is scripture upon scripture that shows us that we need to take action in our walk with God. So let’s talk about a few of them and see what we can glean from them.
Luke 19:2-4 (NKJV) 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector. The Bible says he was also a rich man. He had heard about Jesus, and when he found out that Jesus was coming by, he wanted badly to see Him!
The problem was that Zacchaeus was also a short man. So the crowd around Jesus was a problem for him. There was no way that he would be able to see Jesus because of his short stature.
So, Zacchaeus devised a plan to overcome his situation. He ran ahead and climbed a Sycamore tree, allowing him to see over the crowd and lay eyes on Jesus as He passed by.
Not only did he get to see Jesus, but Jesus saw him! And when Jesus saw him, he called him down out of the tree and made plans to go to his house to stay with him!
Now, had Zacchaeus just sat there and waited for Jesus to break out of the crowd and find him, he would have been left behind, still waiting to see Him. But he took action and that action changed the outcome drastically.
Another Crowd to Press Through
Matthew 9:20 (NKJV) 20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.
Here we see a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. She had been to doctor after doctor to try to find a cure, but none of them could help her.
Then she heard that Jesus was coming through, and she knew that she had to get to Him. Again, though, there was a large crowd around Jesus that would prevent her from reaching Him. Additionally, because she was menstruating, she was considered unclean and she shouldn’t even consider being around the others.
But, being desperate, she did whatever was necessary to get her healing. And as Jesus passed through, she mustered up her courage and pushed through the throngs of people so she could just touch the hem of his robe.
For her, even touching just His robe was enough to get her healing. She knew that Jesus had what it would take to heal her. Because of this, her faith skyrocketed and when she touched His robe, she was immediately healed.
She had a need, she knew what she needed and she went after it. And she got what it was that she so desperately needed; healing.
The Blind Man and Jesus
Bartimaeus was a blind man. The Bible doesn’t say how long he had been blind. But it stated that he was sitting by the road, begging. Based on this, he had probably been blind for a long period of time.
How long he had been blind doesn’t really matter, though, so let’s talk about what happened.
Bartimaeus was sitting by the road and he heard that Jesus was coming through. He obviously knew who Jesus was because he began to yell for Jesus as soon as he knew He was close by.
Mark 10:47 (NKJV) 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Why did he yell? Because he wanted healing for his eyes. And because he was blind, he couldn’t just leap up and go running into the crowd to try to touch Jesus. He may have been limited as to what physical activities he could do, but that didn’t limit his faith or his willingness to do the one thing that he knew he could do; yell very loudly!
When the crowd heard him yelling, they tried to quiet him down and get him to stop. But that just made him yell even more! Bartimaeus was determined to get the attention of Jesus and get what he needed.
Open Your Mouth!
As Bartimaeus yelled, Jesus heard him and told the others to call him over. They did so, and Bartimaeus slowly found his way through the crowd and stood before Jesus.
Now, take note of what happened next. Jesus didn’t simply heal him right then. He first asked him what it was that he needed. And Bartimaeus told him that he wished to receive his sight.
Then, after Bartimaeus spoke what it was that he needed, Jesus healed him and gave him his sight.
Keep in mind that Bartimaeus could’t easily push through the crowd because he couldn’t see. But he still did whatever was possible for him to do by yelling very loudly for Jesus and by finding his way to him when Jesus told the others to have him come. So, despite being blind, he still rose to his feet and somehow managed to find Jesus when he was told to do so. Faith in action!
When he reached Jesus, he was asked what it was that he wanted Jesus to do for him. He told him very plainly that he wanted to receive his sight. Jesus told him to go his way because his faith had made him well.
He was rewarded for his efforts with the restoration of his eyesight.
Had Bartimaeus not made the effort to get the attention of Jesus, he would likely have lived out the rest of his life blind and unable to do anything more than beg from passersby.
The story behind this section can be read in Mark 10:46-52. Please be sure to take the time to read it in its entirety!
A Hole in The Roof
On another day, Jesus was in a house, teaching a small crowd of people. As always, word got out that Jesus was in the area and people were gathering in large numbers.
Some of the people who heard that Jesus was there knew that their paralytic friend could use a touch from the Master, to heal his lame body. So they laid him on a makeshift stretcher and carried him to the house where Jesus was.
But there was a problem. The house where Jesus was teaching was so full that they couldn’t get their friend in the door. They didn’t let this deter them, though!
They figured out that they could somehow remove a piece of the roof and lower their friend down into the midst of the people inside of the house, right where Jesus was.
Mark 2:4 (NKJV) 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, He immediately spoke to the paralyzed man and told him his sins were forgiven. The scribes who were present questioned Him amongst themselves. But jesus knew their thoughts and confronted them. And ultimately He not only forgave the man for his sins, but he also healed his body.
The people were amazed, proclaiming that they had never seen anything like this before.
The paralyzed man benefitted from the faith and the efforts of his friends, who didn’t let the crowds stop them from getting their friend to Jesus, to receive his healing. Great faith and great effort equaled a very great reward!
Results Demand Action
By now it is pretty clear that if we are to receive from God, we need to do more than just wish it would happen. In fact, it also takes more than just speaking it out loud or praying about it. It takes us getting up and doing something!
You see, we need to pursue God with everything in us. Until we do, we will continue to wait, and wait and wait, but with no results to be seen.
What’s more, though, is that we need to pursue God in every aspect of our lives, not just when we need something from Him.
When it comes to pursuing God relentlessly, we need to learn to do so every minute of every day. Pursuing God relentlessly needs to become a way of life. We need to eat it, sleep it and breathe it.
It needs to be something that we do without even thinking about it. We need to make it second nature. Pursuing God relentlessly needs to be who we are, not just something we do. And, in the end, this relentless pursuit of God needs to help draw us closer and closer to Him.
Closer and Closer
Every day that we live and breathe should see us drawing closer and closer to God. We need to be like the disciple who laid his head on the chest of Jesus.
John 13:23 (NKJV) 23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.
Ultimately, we need to be so close to God that there is no room whatsoever for anything to come between us and Him. Living life that close to Him will change us in ways that we would never imagine.
Our attitude will change. Our thoughts will change. Our heart will change. And, as a result, our life will change.
It’s time that we pursue God relentlessly. It’s time that we lay aside complacency. It’s time for us to get serious with God and give Him the time and effort that He deserves. We need to be bold in our pursuit of HIm.
It’s not uncommon for us to pursue things of this world with large amounts of effort. Sometimes we may pursue them tirelessly for weeks or months at a time, working hard to reach a specific goal. Let’s do that with our walk with God!
We won’t regret it for one minute. Our lives will change for the better, and our walk with God will become rock-solid. And our faith will be something that comes naturally, propelling us to live just as those we have discussed above, pursuing God relentlessly.
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