What Does Pursuing God Look Like?
Anna wrote me recently:
I want to know Jesus more and pursue Him, especially during this time of singleness. Would you mind sharing some thoughts on what pursuing Christ looks like? Does it go deeper than just praying, reading the Bible, fasting, and so on?
What a fantastic, practical question!
While it might not feel like a glamorous answer, the hands-down, number-one way to pursue Christ is to study your Bible.
If you’re anything like me, there’s a big disconnect there. I want to know a living Person . . . and you’re telling me to pick up a book?
Yep. One day soon—if all your hope for acceptance by God lies in Christ—you will interact in person with God. Not just that, you will live with Him (Rev. 21:3)! But in the meantime, God has left us a Book telling us what He’s like. That’s how He’s chosen to reveal Himself.
So in order to make sure you’re getting to know God as He actually is—and not as you want Him to be—you need to meticulously pour over this Book to learn about Him.
If that sounds too impersonal and intellectual to you, know this: just ’cause you’re using your head doesn’t mean you won’t be engaging your heart. Quite the opposite, actually.
What a Yale Study Has to Teach Us About Loving God
I learned about Paul Bloom’s “pleasure research” through a blog post by Jen Wilkin. Mr. Bloom, a Yale professor, set out to discover how we find pleasure in things, and this is what he learned: Pleasure doesn’t just automatically happen by doing something over and over; it develops as we learn more about it.
For example, the more you learn about Star Wars, the more pleasure you’ll experience from it (just ask my husband!). Similarly, “If we want to feel deeply about God,” Jen Wilkin writes, “we must learn to think deeply about Him. The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.”
May I give you a recent example of this from my own life?
My husband and I are studying a doozy of a book called The Person of Christ by Donald Macleod. I’m not used to such theological reading, but as I’ve stretched my brain and thought about the “pre-existence of Christ” (meaning that Jesus existed with God, as God, before He was born to a virgin in Bethlehem), I’ve been blown away by:
- how God the Father must have ached for and missed His Son.
- what a cost it was for the Father to send His Son to earth when they’d always existed together for eternity past.
- how deeply God loved us to be willing to part with His Son.
Check out this paragraph by Mr. Macleod to see what I mean:
There was a unique bond between the Father and the Son, arising from the fact that the Son was uniquely lovable and the Father was uniquely affectionate. God could not have made a greater sacrifice. His love is astonishing precisely because at this point he put the world before his Son. The statement “God gave the world for his Son” would evoke no wonder. The statement, “God gave his Son for the world” borders on the incredible. Conversely, the Son could not have suffered a greater loss. To have “lost” the Father, as he did in the dereliction (Mk. 15:34), was the greatest of all possible pains.
How about it? Are you willing to try pursuing God through learning about Him in His Word?
Written by: Paula Hendricks Marsteller
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