March 2011 Fit4Ever
The Search Party
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” – Matthew 13:44 (NIV)
When my wife asks me to go to the grocery store for “just a few things,” I know I’m probably in for a long day. On those days, you’ll find me searching aisle by aisle and, more often than not, on the phone asking her for help. It’s similar to when she tells me to look for something in her purse. I don’t even make an attempt. I’ve learned it’s much faster to just get the purse and bring it to her.
Life is full of searching, isn’t it? And, without question, no search is more important than the one involving our relationship with the Lord.
In many ways, our spiritual life is like a search for hidden treasure. God sets the tone by searching for and rescuing us through faith in Jesus Christ. Then, as we begin to follow and live for Him, we begin a search of our own, seeking treasures in the form of spiritual truths and the hidden mysteries of God.
In our quest for Him, which always results in successful finds, we need to engage in three directions of daily search: the search up, the search in, and the search out.
THE SEARCH UP
|SEEK AND FIND |
When we search for the things of God, we will find hidden spiritual treasures. Below are just a few things we will discover when we...
• Seekers are rewarded. (Hebrews 11:6)
• Burdens are carried. (1 Peter 5:7)
• Purposes and plans are revealed. (Proverbs 19:20-21)
• We are loved unconditionally. (John 3:16)
• Motives are revealed. (Proverbs 16:2)
• Sins are uncovered. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
• Change can begin. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
• We are refreshed, renewed and restored. (Acts 3:19)
• Selfishness is removed. (Philippians 2:3-4)
• Serving opportunities are available. (Ephesians 6:7)
• Compassion is extended. (Ephesians 4:32)
• We become difference-makers. (Colossians 1:10)
In Matthew 13:44, Jesus tells of a man who found buried treasure and was so joyful that he sold everything to buy the field in which it was hidden. Nothing he owned compared to the riches buried in that field, and he did whatever it took to get it.
Many of us have a hard time relating to this parable. Our search for God, which should be equally as joyful, has become drudgery instead of desire.
The reason why many of us don’t live a life of meaning and significance is because we’ve stopped searching up. We’ve either given it up altogether or have narrowed our search down to a five-minute devotion we check off our todo lists. We’ve become disconnected from our Source of life and have exchanged our eternal perspective for a temporary one.
What we need to do is quit the “quiet time” and start the search! We need to begin each day in pursuit of God by getting up early, reading the Word, praying and listening. This is exactly what Jesus did, and God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
THE SEARCH IN
For most of us, the search in is even tougher than the search up, as it requires complete vulnerability and honesty. In this search, we give the Holy Spirit total access to our thoughts, motives and souls, and allow the light of God to expose things that we’ve buried in our hearts.
In 2 Kings 5, Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram, was plagued with leprosy, and he got really good at hiding it. At the suggestion of his servant, Naaman went to Israel to see the prophet Elisha, who told him to wash seven times in the Jordan River in order to be healed. This suggestion angered Naaman because he didn’t want the extent of his leprosy to be seen by others.
If we’re honest, we are often the same way. We don’t want our real conditions to be revealed, so we avoid the examination and choose to live with our sins and brokenness instead of allowing God to bring them to light and apply His healing.
But we don’t have to live in misery if we let God search our hearts. If we hold nothing back from Him, He will uncover our hidden weaknesses—not to embarrass or condemn us, but to heal and transform us with His love.
THE SEARCH OUT
If we complete the searches up and in but stop there, we will fail to finish the total process. God intended our faith to be put into action and make a difference in the world (James 2).Thus, the final search must be the search out.
Because God wants us to be othersfocused, we must actively pursue ways of bringing His love, forgiveness and healing to them. We can start by asking God to give us names of people to pray for, to put people in our paths to encourage, and to help us love those around us.
Our search out is our calling to bring light to the darkness. Just as the shepherd searches for the lost sheep, we must do the same.
This month, let’s all pick up our spiritual torches and get started on the greatest search of all: the quest to know and love our Father.