I recently heard from a young woman who had become frustrated and bewildered in her walk with the Lord. She said that as much as she had felt the urge to move forward, her spiritual progress had nearly come to a standstill. There were even times when she felt like her prayers weren't being heard. She went on to list a number of good works that she was performing in her church, as well as personal achievements she had accomplished in the Lord's service. She ended her note by saying that she felt as though she was helping everyone else to deepen their walk with Christ, but she was neglecting her own relationship with the Lord.
Unfortunately, this scenario is not uncommon among God's people, and it's nothing new, either. Back in the time of the prophet Hosea, the Lord told His people: "I don't want your sacrifices--I want your love; I don't want your offerings--I want you to know Me." (Hosea 6:6 TLB) I can remember growing up, and my grandmother telling me, "I don't want your gifts, I want your love." Hearing her words often made me angry, especially if the gift I had given her was costly. The truth was that giving her material things was a lot easier than loving her the way she desired and deserved. How often do we do this to the Lord? We don't hesitate to write out a check for our church, or a favorite ministry. We volunteer for various ministry-related duties, especially if they profit us, or bring us recognition somehow. But we wince and whine at the idea of meeting alone with God on a deliberate, consistent basis in order to engage in undistracted communion with Him. It's not that the Lord doesn't want or appreciate our service to Him and others, but He wants us to get our priorities straight. Our good works apart from nurturing a personal, intimate relationship with the Lord mean very little to Him.
The apostle Paul wrote: "[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly]..." (Philippians 3:10 AMP) Paul's highest priority in life was to know Christ in a deep and intimate way. As a result, he is still impacting lives for the Lord 2,000 years later. The young woman who wrote me obviously wanted to make her own mark on the world, but she was going about it in the wrong way. She was focusing too much on her personal ministry and good works, and not enough on getting to know the Lord better. As a result, she was drifting away from the very God she sought to serve. Scripture says: "The people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits." (Daniel 11:32 NKJV) In other words, if we want to do great things for God, then we must "know" Him--not in a superficial or surface way, but deeply and intimately.
This young lady complained that her prayers weren't being heard. Perhaps a reordering of her priorities would remedy that situation. The Bible says: "Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know Him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring." (Hosea 6:3 NLT) If we want to hear from God clearly when we call on Him for help, then we must passionately pursue Him on a consistent, daily basis. Then we will find Him responsive to our needs and desires. Do you really want to get to know God? Then get to know His Word. The Bible reveals the heart and mind of God, His will and His ways. As we spend time studying and meditating on the Scriptures, the Lord reveals more and more of Himself to us. Sincere and focused prayer will draw us closer to God, too. As we share our most intimate thoughts and feelings with the Lord, we grow ever nearer to Him, and we experience His loving care and concern. The God of the universe wants you to "become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him." Will you act upon His warm invitation today?
Prayer: Lord, help me to reorder my priorities according to Your perfect will and purpose. Teach me how to seek You with all my heart, and to get to know You intimately. Thank You that as I get to know You better and better, You will use me to impact the world for Christ!
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