It seems my focus these days is figuring out direction for my wife and me, specifically with our jobs and relocating our home. Yet, in other relationships I have with my church and other ministries where I am on a leadership team, I am doing the same thing … looking for direction. It shouldn’t be that hard to look at the Word of God and find direction, but often it is not easy to figure out what God is saying.
I think, like Jacob, we wrestle with God about the decisions we must make about the direction for our lives. So, I have been wrestling with God about this very thing … give me your direction.
Has it come? Yes, but not in the way I wanted it. I want the blueprints, how it is all going to work. I want to look at a plan to build something and go do it. That’s me. I want to execute on the plan. Yet, God has other ideas, ideas that will build me before I build something else. Here is what I have discovered in my exhausting wrestling match with Him:
Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.
For me, it is function before form. Let me explain.
I want the form or the ‘blueprints’, yet God wants the function. He wants me to know Him in my pursuit of Him. Knowing God is always in our pursuit of God. It is in seeking Him first, seeking His Kingdom first before all other things … that is where I find Him. In that seeking Him first, we find Him.
Too often we want our form to find Him, the discipleship form to find God, but that is not how we know Him. Form helps us know about Him, but it is in the searching for God that He can be found.
In several other passages like 1 Chronicles 28:9, Solomon is given advice. It is the same advice that King Asa got in 2 Chronicles 15:2 …“Seek God and you will find Him, abandon God, and He will abandon you.”
The greatest problem we experience in life is the abandonment of God. We see that demonstrated in Romans 1 where God just gives people over to their desires and wants. In Isaiah 5, God removes the hedge of protection around His people because they abandoned Him. It is the same story with many of us. We abandon God for the success of a business, the success of a ministry, the success of a career. We trust God for salvation, but the rest of our lives moves between a pursuer of God on one hand, and a pursuer of the world on the other.
Recently, I made the comment that my biggest disappointment in the church has been other leaders who have abandoned the Lord for personal desire and reputation. Many leaders seek success and reputation more than they do God. It’s as if they say, “I want to have status among my peers and be thought of as a powerful spiritual thinker and purveyor of truth’ and that has become their pursuit.
These pursuits by normal human standards are okay, but when you hold them up to the truth of God, they become false pursuits and persuasions. God doesn’t endorse the glory of man in his reputation or success … He looks to the servant where the least in the kingdom becomes the greatest. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
So, why do so many leaders stray from God? Simple. They lose the pursuit of God with all their heart, mind, and soul. They find more value in their position, their reputation, or their success than they do pursuing God to find Him. I know that may be hard to hear, but it is the truth. There is a reason many national Christian leaders have fallen … it is because their pursuits changed.
The function of the believer is always pursuing God and that never stops over time. Our task is to make sure that form doesn't replace our function of pursuing Him. Form has a purpose, but it always follows function. If you get these turned around you will find yourself pursuing the form. Form gives us knowledge of God, but it doesn't pursue Him … it pursues the knowledge. That is why our churches have become educational institutions where we teach the knowledge of God rather than the function of pursuing God.
Let me conclude with two simple examples that may bring more clarity to this blog:
Matthew 10:1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
Matthew 11 3Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? 4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see. 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
Form or function? Young disciples, no seminary training, and very few years in following Jesus, and what do they do? Ministry. What was John looking for? A white paper on who Jesus was or an executive summary on the details of who Jesus was? Was he looking for form or function? Jesus gave him exactly what John needed … a report on the function of God through Jesus.
I hope the case that was made today will resonate with you and give you a new perspective on how your belief in Jesus will serve you better as you pursue Him in a greater way.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler