The Pursuit of God
Let’s face the reality: we don’t consistently pursue God.
We can define pursuing God as consciously thinking, speaking, and acting in such a way that demonstrates our love for God and others. So, the only time when we’ll be able to pursue God this way consistently will be in heaven. While on earth, however, we’re constantly faced with the sin in our lives. Sin causes every thought, word, and deed to be less than pure in the eyes of God. This doesn’t mean we quit striving for more of God, it just means we have a humility when bringing our “best” to God – knowing that even our “best” is stained. But even our stained “best” is what God desires from us.
Certainly, Jesus wouldn’t have said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” if He didn’t actually mean it (Matthew 22:37).
I Don’t Want To
So, what about when we’re not naturally inclined to love the Lord our God with everything that we are? What about when we don’t want to pursue Him?
The first thing we should note is that pursuing God (or loving God with everything that we are) isn’t dependant on how we may feel toward Him at a given moment. Put simply, God doesn’t desire our pursuit of Him only when we feel like pursuing Him. He desires – and commands – our pursuit of and full love for Him even when we don’t feel like it.
This would mean that our pursuit of God is more than just heart affections. When we don’t want to pursue God, we’re subconsciously looking at our heart’s affections and determining that there’s nothing there for God. And the reality is that that’s going to happen a lot. But we’re to never justify not pursuing God because it’s not from the heart. That’s a weak excuse. Rather, we’re to focus on the mind.
The Disciplines of the Mind
There is extraordinary benefit to disciplining our mind in pursuit of God. I want to suggest a few disciplines of the mind that you can act upon when you find that your heart’s affections aren’t in favour of pursuing and loving God.
1) Walk yourself through the gospel
Remember (even though it may hurt) where you were before Jesus. Preach to your soul that God (in Jesus) came to earth, lived a perfect life, died, rose again, and ascended – for you. Reflect on the abundant grace you’ve undeservedly received from Him.
2) Talk to another Christian
Christian brothers and sisters are an incredible source of spiritual encouragement that many miss out on. Honestly, it’s as simple as texting a friend, calling a family member, or emailing a pastor. God undoubtedly uses human beings to encourage human beings. If He saves people through the preaching of people, He can surely encourage people through the words of others.
3) Read/listen to the Bible
Let God talk to you. He has promises for you. He has stories for you. He has encouragement for you. Maybe you’re tired and can’t even lift a book or your eyelids, that’s okay! There are so many free ways to listen to the Bible.
Hopefully these are practical enough that we can apply them in difficult times. And it’s amazing what can happen to our heart’s affections when we discipline our mind in pursuit of God. Let’s heed these today if we find that our heart’s affections aren’t for God.