The Bible makes an audacious claim that if a person seeks God with all his heart, God will reveal himself to that person. That person, it is promised in Scripture, will certainly find God:
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
So the key to the promise that you’ll find God is that you have to engage in the quest with all your heart.
That’s where there’s a problem:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9 )
What is a sincere God-seeker to do, if the tool you are to rely upon is utterly corrupt and untrustworthy?
Apparently, you have to the unimaginable…you have to rely upon your heart:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Before we wade any deeper into these waters, let’s just acknowledge that when we’re talking about the heart, we’re not really talking about the 4-chambered blood pumper that is your heart. We’re really talking about the home of your soul, the essential you. It is wherever this “essential you” resides. We call it “the heart” because we’ve over time come to identify the heart as the address for your intrinsic being. Before this, it was your spleen or your gut, but in the passing of history, your you moved north to your heart, so to speak. Let’s continue…
Finding God requires your whole being. It takes all of you. This place where your being resides…your “heart”…is inherently corrupted. So on your own, you’ll never get there. If you want to have any hope of finding God, you must conscientiously empty your self…your heart… of the selfishness and deceit keeping you from him.
As you empty your selfish components, God’s Spirit refills it with Divine components. Once you have evicted the evil and deceit that has resided in your heart, you now let God fill it with his commands and mercy and truth:
My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands (Proverbs 3:1)
Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 3:3)
What are the commands that you’re supposed to keep in your heart? It can’t be the 10 commandments. How many of *those* have you broke today? You know, this question isn’t all that new:
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, ” `You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 27:35-40)
Jesus’s answer was that only two commands mattered: Love God with everything in you, and love others like you love yourself. If you do those two things, everything else gets taken care of.
Before you chew on that a little more, take a look at what else God wants to fill your heart with.
Mercy - Your heart is supposed to be the home of mercy. On your own, you don’t know what real mercy is, much less where to find, or how to rightly use it. Mercy is God’s blessing of withholding something you rightfully deserve.
Mercy is also the flipside of grace. Christians like to spend lots of time, thought, energy on grace, but the truth is, you cannot have grace without mercy. Think about it, if grace is when God gives you something you do not deserve, then at the same time, He must provide mercy that withholds what you *did* deserve so that you can instead receive grace. So mercy - God’s mercy to us, and our mercy to others - is to reside in our heart.
Truth - Your heart is supposed to be the home of truth. This is tough to accept in a postmodern age because so many people mimick Pontius Pilate’s question of relativity and ask skeptically, “what is truth?”
Truth is that which is universally, undeniably, unchangably, and objectively identifiable regardless of time, space, perception, or circumstance. We may disagree on the truth of a matter (like say, the color of Gatorade), but its truth is not dependent upon the perception of one person or another. There will be a time and place where some are proven correct, and others are proven incorrect.
But to make the matter even more simple, Jesus said this:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 J)
People have spent their lives trying to explain away this simple statement of Jesus, to water it down, to make it devoid of meaning. Supporting Scriptures just don’t permit it. Jesus made it clear. He is truth. And you can’t get to God (find Him) apart from Jesus.
So….if you want to find God, The Truth must dwell within your heart. Jesus must call your heart home.
This is the lynchpin. If there is no Jesus in your heart, there will be no mercy, there will be no pursuit of the law of God, and no discovery of God. Your heart will be empty of spiritual components, and you will instead pour within it every fleshly, carnal idol in a vain effort to see the chasm filled.
But if your heart is the home of Jesus, and you still feel disconnected with God, like He’s afar, then this is where you need to reconnect.
In His Word.
Remember, the law of God says “love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind (and strength, from a parallel passage).” If you do that, you will find Him.
So what’s the trick?
The trick is, there is no trick.
It takes work. And it’s harder than you’d think.
In fact, its so hard, you cannot do it on your own. You find yourself in a fix. You’re in need of an overhaul, and you can’t get the job done by your self.
Despite this being the reality of things, it doesn’t stop people who call themselves Christians from faking it, when it comes to living in the Spirit.
The only way to love God more is to accept His perfect proposal. Then, let the Spirit take over.
This means if you find yourself disconnected from God it’s because there is too much of *you* in the way.
Your wants Your desires Your flesh Your depravity Your carnality Your agenda Your motives Your ideas Your thoughts Your intentions Your motivations Your understanding You You YOU!
If you want to love God with all your heart, it has to be empty of *you* possessions.
If you want to love God with all your soul, it has to be relenquished of all *your* ownership.
If you want to love God with all your mind, it has to be freed from all *your* limited ideas.
If you want to love God with all your strength, it has to be unshackled from all *your* limiting bondage of carnal depravity.
The only way you can do this is by living in the Spirit. The book of Romans declares that the only way such a life is possible is to totally identify with the crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus (chapter 6). Friend, if you have faith in Christ, it is only because when He went to the cross and died, and was buried, you were in Him.
You were in Him.
That means when Jesus died, your flesh is dead.
When Jesus was buried, your flesh was buried.
And because of that (we’re up to Romans 8 now), when Jesus rose from the dead, you were freed to rise from the dead. You are born again! You no longer wear the death of your flesh, you are living and walking in the reality of the Spirit. You are a mighty conqueror! You have every power and ability to overcome sin because you have been raised to walk in the newness of life.
The problem is, this Spirit life is under attack. And the enemy, Satan, has power in this world, and he will use every resource in his arsenal to deceive you so that you do not live in the Spirit. He much prefers that you cloak yourself in your dead man’s flesh and walk around with a rotting carcass draped over your personage, rather than marching triumphantly in your identity in Christ resurrected.
So he tempts you with what you see. He lures you with what you touch and taste. He attracts you with what you hear. He distracts you with what you smell. He confuses you with all this until your mind, your soul, your strength, and even your heart are rendered incapacitated and useless. And because of that, God seems hidden. Make no mistake, your dead flesh is simply what not to wear.
The only way to find God, then, for the believer, is for his heart to be reconciled, for his mind to be renewed, for his strength to be restored, for his soul to be replenished. This is not a new salvation, it is not a second baptism, it is simply a realignment from man’s understanding to God’s understanding. It is the refocus of blindly searching with eyes of flesh to acutely observing with eyes of faith. Take advantage of your second chance.
John, the forerunner, said it best when He spoke of Jesus and said, “I must decrease, He must increase.”
If you’re seeking God, the key to finding Him is emptying yourself of anything and everything that is keeping Jesus from an extreme home makeover in the domicile of your heart.