Season: 8 Episode: 106
Everyone wants but not everyone is willing to do what it takes to get it. The Bible often refers to seeking God, but what does that look like and how do we do it? Shanda gives practice tips for seeking the Lord and explains the apologetics classes you can register for to help you know what you believe and why you believe it.
“Not every Christian must be a theologian but every Christian must have a theology.” Voddie Baucham
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Hey guys! Merry Christmas! We are gearing up for a set of Christmas episodes and I cannot wait to drop those for you. We are going to set our eyes on the reason for the season. I have an episode for you about whether Christmas is a pagan holiday, one with Albert about the significance of Immanuel, God with us, and more.
Stick with me during the month of December and let’s celebrate the season together.
Today, we are going to talk about the excitement of the apologetics class registration going LIVE! I also have a class on how to study the Bible like a scholar that you can register for and I am going to give you all of the details, but first, I want to talk to you about what it is to seek God.
I was going to provide a bonus episode on the apologetics classes, but honestly, we’ve been busy around here getting curriculum ready, recording some amazing guest episodes for next year and I wanted to provide some content for you about the importance of theology and apologetics for the Christian. But the basic way to say that is … seeking God. How bad do you want it?
Today, we will discuss:
- What does it mean to seek God?
2. Why does God want us to seek Him?
3. How will these classes help you do that?
What does it mean to seek God?
Matthew 6:33 is one of the verses I first learned to memorize: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” That doesn’t mean that we will get untold riches and blessings if we seek God.
We’re going to dive into Matthew 6 today and if you’re not familiar with the chapter, you’re going to love it and you’re going to be encouraged.
Seek first the kingdom immediately draws me to the first and greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. We are to love God first, meaning we seek Him first. So let’s talk about the command to seek God and what that looks like.
Seek is a verb. It shows action on the part of the Christian. It doesn’t mean that God is hard to find or that He hides from us. So why would God tell us to seek Him if He’s not hiding or lost?
There’s something about Christianity that strikes me as funny in an odd way.
Grace is unmerited favor. There’s nothing we can do to earn our salvation. But I often see in the Bible some sort of effort on the part of the Christian to know God. The best way I can describe that is desire. We often see that with words like hunger and thirst. God wants us to want Him. He wants us to desire to know Him. And like any relationship we have, it takes two people to make a relationship work. Just because we have been given grace, or a free gift of salvation, that doesn’t mean we don’t have to pursue God in order to know Him.
What do I mean by that?
Let’s take a look at Mathew 6 to see what Jesus meant and to keep the concept of seek first the kingdom of God in it’s proper context.
In verses 1-4, Jesus tells us to be careful about how we practice righteousness. Is it showy and to be seen by men? He specifically tells us to do righteous things without being seen; without announcing it to the world. For example, if you give money to a hurting family this Christmas, don’t announce it. Keep it a secret. If you donate to charity, God sees. You don’t need to let others know about it because that is your reward.
Jesus goes on …
In verses 5-14, He tells us how to pray. Again, notice He is giving us instruction on how to seek God. Jesus tells us to be discreet about how we seek God because if we do it for show, we’re not seeking Him, we’re seeking praise from men.
Verses 6 and 7 say, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you openly.”
When we seek God without announcing it to the world or doing it for show, it shows the motivation of our hearts.
In verse 16-18, Jesus talks about fasting in secret. Back in the days Jesus walked the earth, religious leaders would walk around somber and with sackcloth and ashes (basically looking like they’re mourning), just so they would be seen by men. They wanted to be seen as being religious.
In verses 19-24, Jesus talks about storing up treasure in heaven where moth and rust don’t destroy. He then says we cannot serve two masters, both God and mammon.
Let’s stop here and really hone in on what He is saying: we are distracted with things.
We work to store up treasures on earth and those things can take us away from our loyalty to Christ. Verse 21, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Again, we’re talking about seeking God. And Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Is God our treasure? Is the motivation of prayer, of fasting, of seeking Him because we desire Him more than anything else? That’s hard. I’m not going to lie. This ebbs and flows for me more than it is steady because a lot of things compete for my attention.
And in the last part of this chapter, Jesus gets to the mental and emotional focus.
And I’m going to read from verses 25-34. “25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Notice that in verse 32, Jesus said the pagans run after all these things. To chase something means you desire it. What do we give our time to each day? What do we chase? Where do we put our attention? Because whatever we treasure, we will desire and seek.
Why does God want us to seek Him?
Some may find it odd that God wants us to seek Him. Again, it’s not because He is lost or hiding. God wants to be pursued. He is always present, but He knows how to get us to reach for Him. I often think of the image of a baby reaching for his mother. A mother is never too far away from her baby. But she can be just far enough for the baby to have to reach for her to show her his desire is for her to hold him.
God wants us to want Him because He wants us. Period.
It’s difficult to wrap your mind around sometimes. Because for me, I think about God being so much bigger and greater than desiring that I desire Him. But one of the things that fascinates me about God is that He sees all of us and wants us al to know Him, but He makes you feel like you’re the only one in the world. That’s the kind of relationship we have with our Creator.
I think asking ourselves if we desire God or if we’re seeking God is a great way to see where we are in a our walk with Him.
I read my Bible daily and I pray. But am I seeking God or am I checking boxes? Desire is more than what I do … it’s the motive behind what I do and how I do it. I’m reading through the Bible in a year right now and sometimes I catch myself tuning out. I’m not seeking God. I don’t want to skip a day.
So being honest with myself also helps me know how to pray.
And I’ve said this before too … if you’re not feeling it, tell God. I ask the Lord all the time to help me seek Him. When I was 19, I longed to know God. I prayed by my bed every night that God would help me to know Him. I told Him, “God, wherever you want me to go, I’ll go. Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do; whatever you want me to say, I’ll say. Just let me know you.”
And I remind myself now that if my desire is not to know Him, then I’ve lost my way. I want to know Him and make Him known.
God wants us to seek Him because it’s good for us to keep our eyes on Him instead of the world. It’s good for us to want Him above all things. When we seek other things before Him, we’ve made other things our treasure. When we seek Him first, we truth Him, we don’t worry about things or tomorrow, we know how to pray.
It’s easier to seek God when something goes wrong. It’s easier to lose sight of God when things are going well. God says to seek Him first. That means it’s a consistent seeking. Seek Him before we seek anything anyone else.
So how do the apologetics and the class on studying the Bible help us seek God?
First, let me say that after I graduated from college I was asked what I would do to stay a life long learner and it drove me crazy. If I was being honest, I had no intention of ever reading another book. I was burnt out. Who wants to be a lifelong learner once they’ve graduated from college and had midterms, finals and tons of work? Not me.
But Christians, I hate to say it … wait for it … you’re a student. Or AKA .. a lifelong learner.
What do I mean by that? We have to be reading, watching and staying up to date on what is happening in culture so that we know how to give an answer. We are defending basic biology regarding gender identity for our children. It is no longer time to be in the shadows but on the frontlines in this culture war, especially if you have children.
Many Christians don’t know how to engage in these conversations because they’ve only been told what to believe without being told why.
That’s where these classes come in.
I have a one day, two hour class on how to study the Bible like a scholar. I go over the different genres of the bible, and use the method I learned from Cross Examined, as well as diving into a passage of Scripture for practice. Anyone who takes this one day class, will also get the induction bible study on the first 3 chapters of Revelation where we study the condition of the churches. And you will put a lot of this into practice.
The new class is about foundations of a biblical worldview. I call it Baseline Apologetics, and honestly the name may change because some people don’t know what apologetics is and this is the fundamentals … like before you tackle the larger concepts of apologetics. It will be one lesson a week for 6 weeks. I will do a LIVE zoom with my students where we discuss the topic and I will ask you questions and discuss as a class. I highly recommend this class for anyone looking to know WHY you believe what you do about Christianity. This class will come with one 5 minute-ish video per week of me explaining the class content for further depth. I’m really excited about it and have been testing the lessons out on my boys and have a friend doing it with her kids too. This class is on Mondays.
It’s not something that is made specifically for teenagers, but it can be used as a family devotional and fundamentals in a biblical worldview.
The last class I have is apologetics 101 and it’s meatier. We do a brief overview of the 3 most popular argents for the defense of the faith, discuss world religions and the trustworthiness of the Bible by looking at eyewitness testimony and things like that. I don’t get as deep as you can find with Cross Examined because I leave the heavy lifting to them. If you take my classes and one to go further, which I highly recommend, I will send you over to Cross Examine’s online courses and they do an amazing job because I’ve taken many classes from them too. This is a 6 week class and you do have to purchase a book (not from me and not one I wrote … Teaching Others to Defend Christianity by Catherine Buse) .. you will get lots of videos from other apologists and required readings throughout the week. That’s why it’s meatier. This class is on Thursdays.
So those are the classes that you can register for starting now.
Registration will close once the classes fill so if you’re thinking about it, do it asap. If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll answer those for you.
Again, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about our own faith. Per the words of Voddie Bauchaum, “Not every Christian must be a theologian, but every Christin must have a theology.”
The enemy knows the word better than we do and he is out for blood. It’s time for Christians to know what they believe, why the believe it and to provide an articulate defense of the faith.
I hope to see you in class and I can’t wait for the Christmas episodes that begin next week. During the holiday season let’s not forget to seek the one who made it possible for us to be reconciled to the Father.
Merry Christmas and I’ll catch you on the next one!