Have you ever looked at someone else’s spiritual life and envied it? Or read about someone in the Bible and wondered how they arrived at such a place of knowing God and experiencing Him in such personal ways?
I’ve been there. One friend had an amazing ability to pray back God’s Word to Him. Anytime we gathered for prayer, I just wanted to stay and listen to her talk to God, as scripture after scripture would come up as she prayed. I’ve had other godly friends who always responded to a question with some reference to a Bible verse that fit perfectly. They had a great gift of wisdom in the application and understanding of scripture to everyday life. I’ve met many people in whom the Spirit of God was so present you were drawn to be near them.
All of these things were evidence that they knew God personally and spent time in His presence. Psalm 105:4 is a little verse that jumped out to me this morning. It gives us the pattern for developing the spiritual maturity and presence of Christ in our lives that we see in others, and long for ourselves.
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face continually.
There are two different Hebrew words used for “seek” in this verse. The first is dāraš, which has a literal meaning of “to beat a path to, to tread.” We are to continually pursue the LORD, Jehovah, the one true God. We cannot go to any other god…we must return to Him over and over and over for it is only in Him that we find the strength and ability we need. He is the only true source of holiness and joy.
The joy of the Lord is our strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)
The second word for “seek” is bāqaš and means to “desire, require, or request.” To seek God’s face is to seek His favor. It is to desire for Him to look at us, and for us to be able to gaze on His face. It is worship. It is desiring His presence; it is requiring His presence and not being satisfied without it. This requires a pursuit of holiness. We are positionally holy in Christ so God can look on us with favor and allow us into His presence (the veil was torn), but it also requires a consistent walk of practical holiness so that we can worship properly and enjoy His presence in our daily lives.
Who may ascend onto the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? One who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to deceit and has not sworn deceitfully. (Psalm 24:3-4)
Here’s how Matthew Henry puts it.
Seek him; place your happiness in him, and then pursue that happiness in all the ways that he has appointed. Seek the Lord and his strength, that is, the ark of his strength; seek him in the sanctuary, in the way wherein he has appointed us to seek him. Seek his strength, that is, his grace, the strength of his Spirit to work in you that which is good, which we cannot do but by strength derived from him, for which he will be enquired of. Seek the Lord and be strengthened; so diverse ancient versions read it. Those that would be strengthened in the inward man must fetch in strength from God by faith and prayer. Seek his strength, and then seek his face; for by his strength, we hope to prevail with him for his favour, as Jacob did, Hos. 12:3. “Seek his face evermore; seek to have his favour to eternity, and therefore continue seeking it to the end of the time of your probation. Seek it while you live in this world, and you shall have it while you live in the other world, and even there shall be forever seeking it in an infinite progression, and yet be forever satisfied in it.’ –Matthew Henry
We don’t have to envy others’ spiritual life. We can have our own. But we must seek it. It will not happen by default, just because we believe in Jesus. Pursuing God is a life-long journey, and it is a journey that does not disappoint.