The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;
God is in none of his thoughts.
(Psalm 10:4)

WHY DON’T WE SEEK GOD MORE DILIGENTLY THAN WE DO? If we are willing to acknowledge that God is our ultimate need, why is it so hard to do what we should about that need? For most of us, there is an obvious shortage of motivation.

To be frank, the problem comes down to a single word: self-righteousness. The failure to seek Him diligently comes from a refusal to see the hideous ugliness of our own sins against God, sins that will condemn us forever if we don’t devoutly throw ourselves upon His mercy. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). We wouldn’t have any trouble living our love for God if we understood how fortunate we are to be loved by Him! Godly zeal is the product of gratitude.

This principle is illustrated poignantly in Luke 7:36–50. There Jesus rebuked the self-righteous ingratitude of Simon, a Pharisee who had criticized a sinful woman who lovingly approached the Lord. Jesus pointed out that she loved Him more than Simon because she was more conscious of the sins she needed to have forgiven. “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (v.47). If our seeking of the Lord is lukewarm, it is because we don’t see that we have anything very serious to be forgiven. A passionate pursuit of God is only generated when we face the horror of our destiny without His grace.

The most powerful motive force in the world is a deeply felt appreciation for the forgiveness God mercifully makes available to us in His Son. We will truly love God only when we see something of the price He has paid to love us. “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15). Having been stripped of our self-righteousness and made to grieve our emptiness, we will seek God with an earnestness that is eternal.

“We are called to an everlasting preoccupation with God” (A. W. Tozer).

Gary Henry — +

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