A Vital "Key" to Spiritual Growth | Tomorrow's World

A Vital "Key" to Spiritual Growth

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Most of us realize that we need to be more sure of our relationship with our Creator, and truly draw close to Him. Most people feel in a general way that they would like to fulfill His will. So they think about it briefly… until the phone rings, or it is time for their favorite television show, or… So, once again, they delay their opportunity to draw closer to God.

In our hurried, mixed up, distracted lives, we often fail to find time—or to take time—to think about what is really important.

Sometimes, at the funeral of a dear friend or loved one, we may pause to realize how quickly the "hustle and bustle" of our daily lives could end. We may quietly think and meditate on the real issues of life: Why are we here? What is the real purpose of our lives? How should we fulfill that great purpose?

Most of us realize that we need to be more sure of our relationship with our Creator, and truly draw close to Him. Most people feel in a general way that they would like to fulfill His will. So they think about it briefly… until the phone rings, or it is time for their favorite television show, or… So, once again, they delay their opportunity to draw closer to God.

Let me share with you a very important "key" that has helped me during my 54 years in Christ's ministry. I have experienced many trials and "ups and downs" in my life. I have been terribly disappointed in years past at the actions of some of my own teenagers and other young people as well. I have been hurt by the slights or indiscretions of others whom I loved. My first wife of more than 20 years died in my arms, from cancer. I have seen dozens of friends and loved ones turn away from the Truth of God. So there have been plenty of "reasons" to become discouraged.

However, one practice has always helped me to "bounce back." In fact, it was that very practice that helped me to become genuinely acquainted with God in the first place.

That vital "key" is the regular practice of setting aside time and energy to truly seek God.


Although King David of ancient Israel experienced literally hundreds of trials and tests—and profound sorrow—he always "bounced back." In spite of his human weaknesses, he became "a man after God's own heart" (Acts 13:22). Scripture gives us a little glimpse of how David related with God: "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor" (Psalm 8:3–5).

David took time to meditate and to think on what was truly important. He often did this outdoors, in the midst of God's marvelous creation, looking up at the moon and stars. He did not have a radio or television blatting away in the background, or a phone ringing, or other distractions while he was spending time seeking God.

When David was hiding out in the wilderness of Judea, as King Saul was trying to destroy him, David literally cried out to God: "O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me" (Psalm 63:1–8).

This beautiful passage tells us a lot about David's approach to God. He would continually "seek" God in almost every conceivable situation. God was the very center of David's life, the One whom David genuinely worshiped and adored and with whom he "fellowshipped." God was truly the center of David's life! We truly are made in God's image, and—just as David did—He wants us to learn to walk with Him, talk with Him and fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3).

But, remember! To draw truly close to our Creator, we must worship Him the way He tells us! Jesus Christ instructed us, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). Jesus Christ also stated, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17).

So, to worship the true God—the God who inspired the Bible—we must zealously study the Bible. We must "feed" on Christ by saturating our minds and hearts with God's word—by constantly reading with an open mind, meditating on and honestly "seeking" God's will as revealed in His inspired Scripture. Then we will learn how to walk with God, how to pray to God and how to "fellowship" with God. Otherwise, like most of the billions of confused people in this world, we will end up serving God with our human imagination—in the wrong way—perhaps by following a false religion or simply letting our human imagination tell us what to do. Yet the Bible strictly warns us not to do that! "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).

What may seem like the right way of life may be directly contrary to the will of our Creator! So we must all be willing to study, to meditate and to "prove all things"—to compare any and all of our ideas and philosophies with what God tells us in the inspired pages of the Bible! Then we can truly "pour out our hearts" to God in fervent and continual prayer! We can then, in absolute faith, ask Him to guide our lives, lead us and use us in His service—and bring us into His everlasting Kingdom!

This desire must be first in our minds and in our lives, as expressed by the actions we take. As Jesus said, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

Many Old Testament scriptures show us how God truly blessed all the men and women who put forth the effort to "seek" Him. Notice: "Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: 'Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you'" (2 Chronicles 15:1–2). How did they respond? "Then they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul" (v. 12).

The Bible describes how Uzziah was blessed when he walked with God. "He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper" (2 Chronicles 26:5).

Again, God's word helps us see how and why these righteous kings were blessed. "Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the Lord his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered" (2 Chronicles 31:20–21).

The lesson is that if we truly want to do the will of the great God—who created us and who gives us life and breath—we should zealously "seek" Him with all our hearts. We should do this by urgently making time to focus on God's will by studying what He has revealed in the Bible, then meditating carefully on what the Bible says His will truly is—then fervently praying to our Father in heaven for the strength and understanding to know and do His will. Finally, we must act on His will, and "walk with God"—as did Abraham, David, Jesus and the many others whom God sets for us as examples in inspired Scripture.

Then, absolutely, God will hear us and answer us if we respond to His will, as He has done for those before us. Remember, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

For, as God promised His people when they were in captivity in Babylon, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:11–13).


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