Robert's Sermons

Key Principles of Christian Living

4. What we Seek, we Find


In this teaching series we’ve been looking at the key principles which should guide us as Christians. These principles are not really doctrines, not really duties, not really promises and certainly not rules. Each one is simply a major truth that Christians need to know. They are like pillars that hold up a large building. Here are the first three:

1. He’s God and We’re Not 

2. God Doesn’t Need Us, but we Desperately Need Him

3. God’s Bidding is God’s Enabling  (What God requires, God supplies)

These three principles lay a theological foundation that prepares us for everything that follows. They lead us to three words of response: submitting, admitting, receiving. We submit because “He’s God and we’re not.” We admit that “we desperately need Him.” And we gratefully receive what God supplies in order that His righteous requirements might be fully met.

That third principle actually summarizes the entire gospel. We are lost, sinful and desperate. If God doesn’t intervene, we are doomed – and God does intervene. God gives us everything we need for salvation, freedom from guilt, forgiveness of our sins, abundant life on earth, and a home in heaven – commencing right now – not just when we leave this earth. This all comes as a free gift of God’s amazing grace and our job is to humbly and gratefully receive that gift and watch it change our life.

Now we are turning a corner in our journey. The fourth principle takes us into the realm of practical Christian living. It tells us that “What we seek, we find.” Those five simple words challenge us at the level of personal motivation. As I prepared this sermon, I was struck by how much the Bible has to say about seeking and finding, especially seeking and finding God. Here are just a few examples:

Deuteronomy 4:29  “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”


1 Chronicles 28:9  “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you …”


2 Chronicles 26:5  “He sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper.”


Psalm 27:8  “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, LORD, I will seek.’”


Isaiah 55:6  “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.”


Jeremiah 29:11  “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.”


Matthew 6:33  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”


Luke 11:9  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you …”


Hebrews 11:6  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. The whole concept of “seeking God” is an enormous biblical concept that touches our motivation, our priorities, how we spend our time, the goals we set in life, and our spiritual growth (or the lack thereof). Let me summarize what these verses are saying with some simple statements:

Everybody seeks something

By nature, we are all seeking people. Some people seek money, others fame, others pleasure, others self-validation, others seek sexual fulfillment, and others seek worldly power … everybody is seeking … all the time. The tragedy of our time is that so many people are wasting their lives seeking that which can never satisfy.

I confess I watched a little of the Rugby League grand final last year – just a little. But I was interested to see and hear all the hype leading up to the start of the game. And I remember the commentator describing this one match as ‘The ultimate game.’ I pondered that statement for a while and thought of all the time, energy, money and effort which was focused all year towards this one day, this one game. If you want to see what seeking looks like, then watch those final few weeks of matches leading up to this ‘ultimate game.’  Then I started to smile as I thought to myself, “If this is the Ultimate Game, why do they play it again next year?”

That’s exactly the way things are in this crazy world. You climb to the top of the heap only to discover that next year you’ve got to start all over again. Nothing in this world satisfies us forever.

There’s an easy test to find out what you seek in life.

Here’s a simple test to help you discover what you truly seek in life. This test is absolutely foolproof. You tell me how you spend your time and your money and I’ll tell you what you are seeking. You can say anything you like, you can come to church and look religious, but your time and your money don’t lie. Show me your calendar and your bank account transactions and I’ll show you what you truly seek and what you truly value.

There are millions of people on this planet who are a lot like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island. The Professor knew how to turn banana peels into diesel fuel, and he could take algae and make chocolate fudge, but did you notice that he never got around to fixing the hole in the boat so they could get off the island?! Too many of us are the same. We spend our life learning to do amazing things that don’t really matter – all the time ignoring the hole in our boat. And that’s why we are stuck where we are! We are seeking the wrong things.

Whatever righteous thing you seek in the spiritual realm, you can have it, if you want it badly enough.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6).  This is one of the most stupendous promises in the Bible. If you are hungry and thirsty for the righteousness that God provides, you will be filled. If you want righteousness, you can have it. Whatever righteous thing you desire in the spiritual realm, you can have if you want it badly enough.

Abraham Lincoln once declared that “most people are about as happy as they want to be.” This is so true. Along those same lines, I would say that most of us are about as close to God now as we want to be. We have about as much joy as we want and about as much peace as we want. We are the way we are, because that’s the way we want to be. Either we’re happy that way or we’ve accepted that this is who we are and we’re not going to change.

For the most part, you are where you are right now because that’s where your desires have taken you. If you were really hungry for something better from God, you would have something better from God.

  >     If you want it, you can have a closer walk with God.

  >     If you want it, you can have a better marriage.

  >     If you want to, you can do God’s will.

  >     If you want to, you can witness for Christ.

  >     If you want to, you can learn to pray.

  >     If you want to, you can grow spiritually.

  >     If you want to, you can walk in the Spirit.

  >     If you want to, you can become a man of God or a woman of God.

  >     If you want to, you can change deeply ingrained habits.

  >     If you want to, you can break destructive patterns of behaviour.

What we seek, we find. This is true in every area and realm of life. Unless we seek, we will not find. And what we seek, for good or for bad, we eventually will find. Our primary problem stems from the excuses we make. We don’t change and we don’t grow and we don’t seek God and we stay the way we are because that’s pretty much the way we want to be. We’ve learned to live with mediocrity and either we think things will never change or we’re happy the way things are.

I can think of three excuses that keep us trapped in that rut of mediocrity. The first is the excuse of self-pity. Self-pity is the greatest enemy of spiritual growth. As long as we mope around feeling sorry for ourselves, we can’t get better. And we’ll be stuck right where we are.

The second excuse is the “I’m trying” excuse. Whenever we say, “I’m trying,” that’s just an excuse for not doing what we say we want to do. We can excuse any sort of non-performance by saying, “I’m trying.” In one of the Star Wars movies, Yoda tells Luke Skywalker to use his powers to do something that seemed impossible. “I’ll try,”said Luke. “No!” said Yoda. “Try not! Do or do not. There is no try.”

  • You’ve either got a drinking problem or you haven’t.
  • You’re either reading the Bible or you’re not.
  • You’re either paying off your credit cards or you’re not.
  • You’re either losing weight or you’re not.
  • You’re either using drugs or you’re not.
  • You’re either being faithful or you’re not.
  • You’re either forgiving that person who hurt you or you’re not.

Saying “I’m trying” is just a weak excuse to take the pressure off yourself. You get credit for doing something that you’re not really doing. In the end, it’s a way of deceiving yourself into thinking you’ve changed when nothing has changed. If I was an alcoholic in an AA meeting and I said, “I am trying to quit drinking.” I would hear the mantra: “Trying is Lying.” It is lying both to myself and to anyone else who heard it. If I want to lie to myself that is one thing, but I would be told that I should really have the decency not to waste the time of the group by lying to them.

If you’re on the receiving end of that comment, it’s really tough to hear. But we have to learn that the real solution always lies in admitting, “I am powerless to change myself,” but God “can and will change me if I truly seek Him.”

The third excuse is simply saying, “I’ll never change” or “I can’t change” or “I don’t want to change.” If that’s your bottom line, then I have nothing for you today, or any day! Until you want to change, you are doomed to stay exactly the way you are right now. If that attitude resides in more than a few people in a church congregation, then that church is already dead and just needs a good burial. The entire Christian life is about change, transformation, and renewal. We are called by God to a lifetime of change. He never, ever wants us to ‘remain as we are’ – He is always wanting to transform us more into the image of Christ. God wants to mold us and shape us in such a way that the life of Christ within us permeates our very being and transforms every area of our lives!

So, let me ask you: are you a God-seeking person? It’s not enough to be religious or simply committed to attending church events. As good as that may be, it’s not the same thing as seeking God with all your heart, soul mind and strength. I want to challenge you in this next week to do something very difficult but potentially life-changing. I want you to go to someone who knows you well and ask them this question: “Am I a God-seeking person? When you look at my life, do you see the qualities in me of a person who truly seeks God?”

If you want a really good test, try going to a friend or relative who is not involved in the church at all and doesn’t share your faith in God – and ask them! You may be surprised at how readily they answer. Those outside the church may not understand the intricacies of our faith, but they know the difference between someone who seeks God and someone who doesn’t. In some cases, I think unbelievers are be less easily fooled than believers. Since they don’t focus on the outward trappings as much as we might, they can spot a God-seeking heart, even if that’s not what they would call it.

People who don’t know the Lord instinctively recognize a person who truly knows God and seeks God passionately. This is a question a Buddhist can answer, or a Hindu, or a Muslim, or a Jew, or even someone who isn’t spiritual at all. Go ahead. Ask them, “Am I a God-seeking person?” They will tell you the truth as they see it.

So, if you want a God-seeking heart, where should you begin? I have four suggestions:

Admit your need. You cannot change until you admit that you need to change. If you are happy the way you are, then none of what I say today will matter to you. But if you are tired of turning banana peels into diesel fuel while there’s still a hole in your boat, then listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church today and admit your need.

Cry out to God for help. The Bible is full of stories of men and women crying out to God throughout history and God was there for every single one of them! If you need the Lord, cry out to Him today. Seek Him with all your heart and you will find Him.

Surround yourself with God-seeking people. You know who they are. God-seekers aren’t hard to spot. Find some friends who truly seek the Lord and glue yourself to them. Go where they go, do what they do. Follow their example. Eventually one of two things will happen. Either they will drive you nuts, and you will leave them or they will rub off on you and you will become a God-seeker too!

Wait on the Lord. This is a hard discipline for most of us to practice. Our message to God is usually, “Give me patience Lord, and give it to me now!” We want spiritual maturity, and we want it by the end of this week! We’re not accustomed to waiting patiently on the Lord.

Our whole culture is not good at waiting for anything. But waiting has so many positive benefits. The very act of waiting re-orients our hearts and increases our longing to know the Lord intimately. As we wait and as we pray, we become like the deer panting for the water. Our soul grows hungry to know the Lord.

The great mystic Thomas a Kempis once said, “Seek God, not happiness.” We have it all backwards in our world. We seek happiness and hope to have God thrown in as a bonus … and we end up with neither. The paradox of the gospel is that when we truly seek God, we find Him, and we end up with true happiness (i.e. deep fulfillment, lasting joy and abundant life). But it takes years for many of us to figure that out, and some of us never get this. To the very end, we pursue earthly happiness and our own agenda, and we wonder why life leaves us frustrated and disillusioned.

I want to leave you with this final thought. Jesus’ appeal is always personal. He never says, “Come and join the church” or “Come and be baptized” or “Come and give time and money.” He simply says, “Come to me.” Then Jesus says, “You will be filled,” He means, “You will be filled with Jesus Himself!”

If you are hungry, come and eat of the Bread of Life.

If you are thirsty, come and drink of the Water of Life.

If you are weary, come and find rest in Him.

If you are guilty, come and embrace His forgiveness.

If you are far from God, come back home again.

The French philosopher Pascal was the one who first said that there is a “God-shaped vacuum” inside every human heart. Since nature abhors a vacuum, if we don’t fill it with God, we will fill it with something else. So many of us have filled our hearts with the ‘junk food’ of this world. No wonder we are so unhappy. No wonder we jump from one job to another and from one relationship to another. No wonder we stay the way we are. We’re trapped in the pit of a thousand excuses. We’d rather have misery and pain than risk it all on Jesus.

Many centuries ago, Augustine explained both the problem and the solution: “O God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.” You will never be happy until you put God first in your life, and you can never do that until you surrender your life to Jesus Christ once and for all. In the kingdom of God, everything begins with a seeking heart! Salvation begins with a hungry heart. If you are tired of the life you’ve been living, you can make a new start.

In the kingdom of heaven, what you truly seek is what you find. Amen.