Posted: 1/4/19 at 2:00pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
With the arrival of the new year, most of us are seeking a better year than the last one. It is a good thing to seek to improve our lives, whenever we can do this. But when it comes to planning the new year, we tend to neglect the element of our spiritual lives.
People are willing to talk about a lot of things related to their lives, but the spiritual condition of their lives is rarely among them. Why is this?
Why is it that the most important aspect of life is that which we avoid thinking about and talking about? Don’t you find it a little strange to try to avoid God, when our whole existence depends upon God?
We were designed to be attracted to God and to find our fulfillment in him. So I challenge you to take a deep breath and join me for a few minutes as we think about God in relation to our lives.
In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables designed to reveal to us our lost condition and to reveal the love with which God seeks to restore us to himself. In Luke 15:1-2, the Pharisees and scribes were complaining and grumbling about Jesus spending time with tax collectors and sinners—people like you and me, who too often forget about God as we get absorbed in our own thing.
Jesus said that God is like the shepherd (cf. Luke 15:5–7, NLT) who goes out seeking the lost one, “And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
Do you get the picture? God is lovingly seeking us because we are in danger and don’t even know it. He keeps approaching us and calling us to return to him.
When we respond, he tenderly picks us up, puts us on his shoulders, and carries us home. Why in the world would we run from such a God, or try to hide from Him? When we allow Jesus to bring us back to God, there is joy and celebration in heaven and also among the rest of the flock.
At the same time that God is seeking us, we need to be seeking him. Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount that we need to seek God continually and to put God’s activities first in our lives. God is to be the priority in our lives and the formulator of our life plans.
In Matthew 6:33 (NLT), Jesus instructs us to: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Some people think that becoming a Christian is a step backward, but really it is a step forward. As we seek God first, then we discover the very best things that could happen in and through our lives. As we seek God and place him first in our lives, then God makes sure all the other needs and priorities are met and fulfilled.
Seeking God first means that we are no longer alone—we have a loving shepherd who cares for us.
Following Jesus leads us into the very best that can happen in our lives. Why would anyone want to ignore God and settle for a life that is second best, or third best, or fiftieth best, when they can choose Jesus and experience the very best each and every time?
We have a God who loves us and wants us to journey through life with him. When we are apart from God, God comes looking for us. It is not that he doesn’t know where we are; it is that we don’t realize where we are and the kind of danger we are in. As you hear God speaking to you, turn and run into his arms.
Seek first his Kingdom and rule in your life in this new year, and then you can enjoy the best life possible instead of settling for second best.
Seek God, who is seeking you, even as you read this. I wish you a happy new year–full of God and God’s best for you.