By Jen Jabbour, Crosswalk.com
Growing up, I loved watching the Indiana Jones movies. Indy was always on the hunt for that next big treasure, but once he found it, he never seemed satisfied, and before long, he was off searching for the next one.
Some may say it was because he loved the adventure and the thrill of the hunt, but my theory is that earthly treasures are never quite enough to quench the thirst of our souls. We always are left wanting more.
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus tells us not to store up treasures here on earth because everything here is temporary, but instead store up treasures in heaven, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ESV
Like Indiana Jones, we are all seekers on a lifelong journey to find fulfillment.
Some will find it, while many others will chase after it their entire life; they’ll always feel kind of empty inside, never knowing why there’s a void they can’t quite fill.
As I observe the world around me, my heart breaks for those who continuously seek after the things they think will finally make them happy, yet they never seem to find them.
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Why When We Seek, We Don’t Always Find
Many are seeking in the wrong places, or even worse, they don’t even know what it is they’re looking for.
The world says it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it makes you happy:
- If you fell out of love with your spouse, get a divorce and find someone new.
- If your job doesn’t satisfy you, quit and get a new job.
- If you don’t like where you live, move.
- If you are looking for excitement, buy a sports car or go skydiving.
James 4:2-3 ESV says, “you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”
According to the May 2022 Gallup Poll, 82% of all Americans believe that God exists.
No wonder so many people in this world seem lost, broken, and empty. They are literally wandering aimlessly, seeking something that will never be found, because they don’t even know what it is they’re trying to find or how to begin seeking after it.
If We Aren’t Happy, We Never Will Be
Whenever my children whine about things they want, whether it’s the latest video game or a new pair of shoes, my husband always says, “If you’re not happy with what you have, you’ll never be happy with what you want.”
It’s true. The constant search for bigger and better never leads to fulfillment. It only leads to wanting even more.
What we believe will satisfy us only sets us up for disappointment and failure, because these temporary pleasures only serve to delay the inevitable emptiness that follows.
1 John 2:15-17 ESV… says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world…. For all that is in the world… is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires…”
When we only seek after earthly pleasures, it sets us on an endless path of searching for the next big thing. A life in pursuit of happiness quickly becomes boring and mundane. This is when we start to believe lies, such as:
- We have fallen out of love with our husband or wife
- A quiet evening at home is no longer exciting enough
- Life is too difficult to stay sober
- The only key to happiness is to make more money
Sadly, all those things we think are going to fulfill us are just distractions, keeping us from the Only One we need.
We Listen to the Lies of the Enemy
The enemy, Satan, the father of all lies (Daniel 8:25, John 8:44) has been successful at leading mankind away from God with one simple lie. It’s the same lie that he has been using since the time that Adam and Eve first sinned (Genesis 3:1-6) - the lie that God is holding out on us.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If the enemy can keep us from seeking God and lead us away from the only One who loves us and longs to give us every good thing (James 1:17), and toward the pursuit of earthly pleasures, he has succeeded.
The first step to seeking after the things in life that will truly fill us up, is to make sure we are only listening to the One who will lead us to life, not death; prosperity, not destruction; hope, not despair.
Jesus Christ is the only one who can do that for you.
Jesus Seeks After You
Jesus Christ seeks after us, even if we are traveling down the wrong path, enticed away from God by the enemy, and seeking for the answers to life in all the wrong places. He seeks after us so He can rescue us from the enemy, who is also seeking after us (1 Peter 5:8).
Many times, in the Scriptures, we are likened to sheep, who have a tendency to stray away from their shepherd and the herd:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6 ESV
In Matthew 18:10-14, Jesus tells a parable about a lost sheep, and says, “If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?” ESV
I am that sheep. We all are. And at times we are deceived and enticed by the enemy, and we stray away from God.
We all have voices battling in our minds, and it can be terrifying if we try to brave it alone. But when we belong to God, we have nothing to fear:
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True Fulfillment Occurs When We Seek God
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 ESV
The truth of the matter is:
- Pursuing the passions of this world will leave you empty and always searching for more.
- Pursuing the passions of Jesus Christ will bring you fullness of joy, eternal life, and never-ending fountains of life.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:25-26 ESV
The Bible tells us to stop focusing on our “happiness,” but to instead focus on God, and when we do, our lives start to transform (Romans 12:2). We are filled with indescribable joy - even in our rocky marriages, boring neighborhoods, frustrating jobs, and broken-down cars.
How Do We Seek God First?
I have found the best way to seek God in my life is to give everything in my life to God.
Every desire, every fear, every concern, every relationship. Everything.
One way to do this is to start by thinking about the first and last thoughts of your day. When your feet hit the ground in the morning, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? As your head hits the pillow at night, what lingering concern is running through your mind? Is it about your job, your finances, your relationships?
Rather than fretting or trying to problem-solve, try this instead:
- Make prayer the first thought of your day (Philippians 4:6-7).
- Then read your Bible, asking God to respond to your prayers through the scriptures.
- As you feel the Holy Spirit stirring in your heart, faithfully obey what you’ve read (James 1:22-25).
- Pray yourself to sleep. This has helped me on many occasions when the worries and burdens of my day keep me awake at night.
Deciding to follow God means we decide to intentionally seek after God every single day of our life with all the things in our life.
Your Search Starts and Ends with God
As you put God first in your life, you’ll experience something amazing. You’ll start to see God’s power working in and through you.
The promise in the second part of Matthew 6:33, “all these things will be added to you,” will become evident in your life.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15 ESV
You’ll realize that Psalm 37:4 is true for you: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
When we turn away from the enticements of the world, and focus on the truths of God’s Word, the voice of the enemy, the temptations and the lusts of the flesh no longer have a hold on us. Instead, it becomes easier and easier to follow God, because of all the blessings he showers on us.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:16-17 ESV
As we seek God fully in our life, all the things we could ever want will be given to us.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
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