Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What Do You Seek?

Have you ever pursued something for the wrong reason or in other words, have you ever done things with an ulterior or selfish motive?  There are those in the world who will pretend to be your friend when in fact, their only interest is what you can do for them.  No doubt, this behavior is highly prevalent in the world of business and even more so in the political arena, but would it surprise you to know there are those who pursue this same type of relationship with God?
Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, What do you seek? They said to Him, ‘Rabbi, where are You staying?’”  (John 1:35-38)
One of the most simple and yet penetrating questions we find in the bible is the one that every believer both new and old should ask themselves and that is what do you seek?  I say this because this is the very question Jesus turned and asked two disciples of John the Baptist whom one day was following behind Him.  The two disciples of which I speak are of course Andrew being the first, and the other is seemingly John who was the son of Zebedee and brother of James.  

No doubt, this question caught Andrew and John completely off guard because their answer was not an answer at all, but that of a question asking Jesus where He was staying.  You might be wondering why the Lord would ask such a question rather than offer a more customary greeting.
In answering this, let us look at a couple examples from scripture and let us begin with the Pharisees.  Here we have one of the major religions of the time and they were very direct and often threatening about the people keeping in step with the laws.  It was common to see a Pharisee on a street corner praying aloud to God and this was not for seeking His will, but for the sole purpose of being seen by onlookers.  As the scriptures teach, those among the Pharisees had a lust for power, control, and an insatiable desire to be seen and revered by men. 

Would you say there are people such as the Pharisees in the church today?  Yes indeed, there are those in our midst who are always first in line to stand up and speak aloud about all the wonderful things they have done for God, as opposed to what God has worked through them.  You see, people such as this are seemingly seeking the attention for themselves vice giving all the praise to the One who is responsible for all good things accomplished.

Another example would be those who were buying and selling in the temple at Jerusalem.  You see, people would come to offer their animal sacrifices to the Lord of which they had to be without blemish and without defect.  Upon entering the temple, they would be told that their animals did not meet the standards for sacrifice, which in most cases was an outright lie.  How lucky for the people that the temple happened to have animals available for purchase that were deemed suitable for sacrifice – yea right!  No doubt, these were the same animals brought in by other worshipers the day or hours before and found to be unsuitable. 

Here we see a lust for money and people using God’s house as a means to promote and conduct business for the sole purpose of personal gain.  Would you again say there are people such as this in the church today?  Absolutely, for indeed, there are those who use the church as a mere social gathering where they can seek out and build clientele in order to promote their personal business in an all-out effort to make money.

Jesus cuts to the very heart of the matter when it comes to people such as this for He already knows what burns in their heart and in one case when He was speaking with some Pharisees, the Lord recalled that which was spoken by the Prophet Isaiah.
Jesus said, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.  (Matthew 15:7-8)
It is quite easy for us to sit back and point out from those among us who are seemingly pursuing selfish and self-satisfying interest within the church.  It seems from our vantage point that the interest of such people is not to have a relationship with Christ, but merely that of personal gain.  Can you see where this is going being it is all too easy for us to fall into a mindset of judging others and their relationship with Christ vice focusing on our own relationship with Him?

This is not to say that there are no people such as those described above within the church today for indeed there have been and always shall be people such as that until the last day.  Nonetheless, our job is not to judge what other people seek, but rather our role is to pray for and minister to them as the Spirit leads for this is the work of God through us.  Yes, there is a time when such behaviors are to be called out by the church and handled within the doctrine of church discipline, but that is a lesson for another time.

Let us fast forward to the end of John’s gospel where Peter is recommissioned by Jesus.  After learning about how he would die and bring glory to God, Peter is curious as to what is planned for John and so he asked as if to say, “Hey, what about this guy?”
Jesus said to Peter, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?  You follow Me!”  (John 21:22
In other words, Jesus is telling Peter and all who follow Him to not be concerned with what others are doing or have been called to do, but rather we are to be concerned with what He has called us to do.  Our only concern first and foremost is to stay focused on the Lord and… follow Him!

Jesus asks the question “What do you seek?” of all believers as a means to cause us to reflect and evaluate our motives and desires for serving and following Him.  He did not ask Andrew to tell Him what John was seeking, but rather He asked each one the question individually and it is the same question He asks of you. 

Of course, the overarching answer to this penetrating question of ponderance is found in the bible.  Scripture teaches that we are to seek first the kingdom of God and that of His righteousness in all that we say and do for when we do this, our motives and desires will fall right in line with His will.

So this week, be encouraged to take time and look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What do you seek?” for by doing so what is the best that can happen dear brother/sister, you can grow closer in you walk with Christ.

Have a blessed week!

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2 comments:

  1. Hi Darryl,
    I always think that we have to pick up our own daily mana and hear what the Lord speaks to us as individuals, we can only work out our own salvation - not someone else's. We can all share what we notice, as you have done, without mentioning a particular individual, and we can try sometimes to take the splinter from someone else's eye as long as we have first removed the log from our own eye in that particular area( as in sympathy comes from empathy ) as long as the reason is to help someone. I notice how vastly different church groups can sometimes be, not only to one another in doctrines but also to how they should be when compared to how they were two thousand years ago. However,it is pointed out in scripture that this is how it will be in the latter days. So the important thing for me is to try to conform to what the Lord is telling me personally through my seeking Him. I believe it is the word itself that is a believer's judge, although we can all build one another up. I know the Lord has emphasized to me that 'no man shall say 'Know the Lord', they shall all be taught by God', and that is what I have found-that the Holy spirit is the teacher, convincer and the convicter, and is at work in whomsoever He chooses. God bless

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    Replies
    1. Hi Brenda,

      Wonderful commentary and you have captured the essence of what I hoped to convey in this week’s devotional study. Time and time again, I have seen other brothers and sisters in the faith more concerned about the spec in someone else’s eye only to ignore the log in theirs. It is as though they focus on the shortcomings of others as a means to build up their own ego, pride, status or whatever, which, as you have well said, goes against biblical teachings.

      Indeed, if we seek first the kingdom of God and that of His righteousness, our compassion for one another becomes a natural part of who we are in Christ. Is this not the point of spiritual growth and that is to say become more Christ-like - Absolutely!

      Blessings!

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