WHAT ARE YOU SEEKING?

BY:  JAN A. ANTONSSON

JANUARY 7, 2016

 

 

The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway

 

“Set your heart first on his kingdom and his goodness, and all these things will come to you as a matter of course. (Matt. 6:33, Phillips)

 

On the first of January, many people make New Year's Resolutions.  These usually include, but are not limited to, eating healthier, exercising more, losing weight and whatever else seems pressing upon us at the time. One of the few good things about getting older is that you soon enough realize the folly of trying to make something happen just by saying you're going to do it. Self effort is not limited to religious pursuits, but shines brightly every year about this time in physical endeavors.  If I had any inclination left to make a New Year's resolution, it would be to NOT make a New Year's resolution.

 

In his meditations this week Fr. Richard Rohr has brilliantly addressed this human inclination of seeking what we think we need. His Sunday, January 3rd meditation was entitled, “What you seek is what you are.”  He wrote, “To understand this I must know that I am, at least in part, the very thing I am seeking. In fact that is what makes me seek it! But most do not know this good news yet. God cannot be found ‘out there,’ until God is first found ‘in here’ within ourselves.”

 

He goes on to conclude about mystics and others who have embraced this truth, “Their spiritual warfare is precisely the work of recognizing and then handing over all of their inner negativity and fear to God. The great paradox here is that such a victory is a total gift from God and yet somehow you must want it very much. (Phil. 2: 12-13) End Quote.

 

Paul's quotation in Philippians 2:12-13, is the one about working out “your own salvation in fear and trembling; for God is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” It took me a long time of trying and failing, trying harder and failing more miserably, to get it that God was not telling me I had to try harder to work my way to heaven.  I had overlooked the last part of the verse about God being the one at work, not Jan.  What a difference that makes!

 

In one of his books, Watchmen Nee proclaimed that Christ himself is everything that we pray for, all that we want, and all that we seek. Paul’s assertion that Christ in us is our hope of glory supports Nee’s conclusion as well as Richard Rohr’s statement that we ARE the thing we seek. When I first read this on Sunday, it struck me as absolutely the truth. It also struck me as sounding like doublespeak.

 

The thought presented by Rohr has come to me countless times during the days and nights since, and each time it knocked at the door of my conscious mind, I knew I would be writing about it, but hadn’t a clue what to say about it or how to explain it the way I see it. After going around the same “thought mountain” many times, I finally realized that this is another example of how the Spirit himself has to teach us, has to reveal Christ in us, has to illuminate and quantify our seeking even as he has to identify and fine tune our goals and our focus.  

 

As you may have guessed, I am a word person. But there are things that words themselves simply cannot convey satisfactorily.  Paul said about it, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.  And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Rom. 8:26-27, RSV)  I used to think this referred to speaking in tongues, and it includes that, but is so much more, because God communicates with us on a deeper level than we have ever imagined or thought possible.

 

For as frustrating as trying to put this concept into words can be for someone like me, I also realize that the best news of all is that I really don't have to do it. The spirit does it for me, interceding for me and for you with God, and between each of us as his children. The Holy Spirit is somewhat like, though on an infinitely vaster scale, the Internet, by which many of us keep in touch.  It seems to me that God is keeping us in touch all the time with those he has put on our hearts to pray for, to encourage, and to love.  Sometimes it's on a non-conscious, non-verbal level. 

 

When I got my new iPhone last summer, I was quite disconcerted to find out that it was interfaced with and accessing the Internet even when I wasn't using it. It took a long time to find all the things that I could turn off to keep that from happening because data usage is a financially big deal for me, but the analogy is valid here, I think. God is progressively, continually, constantly working in the background in all of us, consciously and unconsciously, to keep us connected, working invisibly in our spirits in order to enable us to support one another, love one another, and get His appointed tasks done jointly.

 

I'm sure you've noticed as I have, that many people seem to get the same light from the Spirit at almost the same time though they are separated by distance, by time, and maybe they haven't even met each other. He manages to bring us together so that we can make beautiful music together, much like a Philharmonic Orchestra functions, with God as the Supreme Conductor.  To Him be the glory!

 

Countless times when I have sought guidance or other help from the Spirit, the message comes through loud and clear, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you.”  I can't tell you what that means for you but don't worry, because He will make it clear in whatever way you hear best.  

 

Here’s a little example.  Last night, I broke a tooth by biting into a small piece of frozen chocolate candy.  When I called the dentist this morning, the receptionist told me that my only choices were to come in at 8:00 AM next Tuesday, or wait until the 27th of the month.  I reluctantly chose the Tuesday appointment, groaning inwardly to the Lord for help, because it was a big chuck of tooth and filling or crown which broke off, meaning I’ve got a bigger hole in my head than usual.  The call had not been concluded for more than a couple of minutes when the receptionist called back to say they just got a cancellation today at 3:00 and could I come then.  I’ve been thanking the Lord ever since for arranging things in my life to a) show me He does arrange things, and then b) taking care of it all for me.

 

I'm totally convinced and persuaded without a shadow of doubt that God speaks to all of His children all the time. Because we human beings have a terrible tendency to compare ourselves to other people, sometimes we miss the message.  He speaks to us in ways that we individually can hear. And the only way we can do that is to be still and know that He is God; He is our father, our Abba.  No one can tell us how to do that either, but no worries about that either.  The Spirit will grant us participation in the most priceless gift in the Universe:  luxuriating in the presence of God Himself.

 

Each of us accesses the divine presence in our own unique way, and sometimes it takes a bit of trying and a lot more of being still, to listen and learn what that is. God knows what we need and how we need to hear it, and it is His job to make it plain to us, whatever it is.  This is another “God Job” from start to finish.

 

So be of good cheer and trust that whatever you are seeking, you already have it in Christ. And the circumstances in your life which may make you doubt the truth of this statement, were put there sovereignly by God so that He can reveal Himself at the precise moment you need to Hear from Him and to see Him in action.  He gives us the empty spaces and painful places which can only be filled up and comforted by Himself.

 

Father we thank you for being our all in all; for loving us, protecting us, and guiding us in all aspects of our lives. We believe with the Apostle Paul that, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  Accordingly, we join our voices with the heavenly host together with all the Saints gathered around your throne to proclaim, “as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”  Amen.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT ARE YOU SEEKING? [Jan A. Antonsson] 01-07-16          3

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