Four Ways to Pursue the Presence of God

pray

Have you ever said, “I’m dying of thirst!”? It’s a phrase most of us have used. It may have come from the exhaustion of working outside on a hot summer day, or finishing a sporting event, or even from the parchment felt after eating a particularly salty meal. For most of us it is just a casual statement; yet, for others, it is a brutal reality.

Sadly, this was the experience for Dave Buschow. A 29-year-old New Jersey man who traveled to the deserts of Utah for an adventure in survival training. By day 2 in the more than 100-degree heat, Dave was in bad shape; desperately in need of water, he began experiencing hallucinations. After 10 hours without water, Dave collapsed and died face down in the dirt one hundred yards from a cave with fresh water. (Read the full story BY DAN COLLINS, UPDATED ON MAY 3, 2007 / 10:30 AM / AP Cbsnews.com)

What can happen in the natural, can also happen in the spiritual. We can become parched with spiritual thirst even though an endless supply of spiritual water awaits. Jesus stood before the crowds gathered in Jerusalem and declared, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this, He meant the Spirit. (John 7: 37-39, NIV).

Our greatest need is to pursue Jesus. He alone is the source of living water. He alone satisfies the thirst in our soul. How do we seek Him? Let’s turn to the Scriptures and see 4 ways to Pursue after the Presence of God.

1. Set your PRIORITIES in Order.

Matthew 6:33, (CSB) – (Jesus said), “But seek first the kingdom of God[and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.”

Colossians 3: 1-2, (CSB) – (The Apostle Paul declared), “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Preaching in Athens, Paul told the spiritually thirsty and curious crowd, “From one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. 27 He did this so that they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17: 26-27).

Priorities are a matter of the HEART. Jesus told the crowd that if you are thirsty, “Come to me.” The greatest pursuit of your life begins when you set your heart to seek after God. When His presence becomes your greatest desire, you are headed in the right direction.

The psalmist cried out, “God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you. I thirst for you; my body faints for you in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water” (Psalm 63:1).

And in another Psalm, “ My heart says this about you: ‘Seek his face.’ Lord, I will seek your face” (Psalm 27:8).

2. Seek His Presence through PRAYER.

You cannot have a personal relationship with someone you aren’t willing to communicate with. The prayer of Psalm 119:18 is, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” Take a few minutes and pray that prayer right now. “Lord, open my eyes that I may see you.” But notice where the psalmist knew to look, “from your Law.”

Someone said it like this, “When we pray, we talk to God. When we read the Bible, God talks to us.” When pursuing after God we need both – to talk to God, and to listen to God speak back.

Jesus taught, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” – (Luke 11:9, NKJV).

3. Seek His Presence with HUMILITY.

Jesus once told a story of two men who were praying in the Temple. One man was a religious leader, a Pharisee who lived by a strict religious code. The other was a man who was a dishonest tax collector grieved by his sinfulness. Notice the stark differences in the prayers of the two men.

The Pharisee prayed, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men-extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.” Notice how he degraded the other man in his prayer.

The Sinner prayed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

Of these two men, which do you believe touched the heart of God and received living water? If you answered the humble sinner, you are correct. Jesus stated, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18: 11-14).

Psalm 10:4 says, “In his pride, the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God” (NIV).

Jesus is our example. Think about what He did to leave His glory to come to us.

Isaiah 57: 15, (NKJV) – “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”

Through the prophet Isaiah God proclaims, “I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2, CSB).

4. Seek His Presence through SURRENDER.

The Scriptures call us to, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8, CSB).

Psalm 119: 2-3, (CSB) – “How happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk according to the Lord’s instruction! 2 Happy are those who keep his decrees and seek him with all their heart.”

This is the greatest pursuit – to seek the presence of God. We have this promise from the prophet Jeremiah that all who seek Him, find Him when we search for Him with all our heart.

Open your Bible to Psalm 9:10 and fill in the blanks. Then spend a few moments considering this wonderful truth and pursue the Lord in prayer.

Those who _____________ your name ____________ in you because you ________________________ those who seek you, Lord – Psalm 9:10, (CSB)

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