In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul quotes an astonishing statement from the Psalms: “There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). How can Paul, and David before him, make such a sweeping declaration? Of all who have ever lived, not even one person has really sought after God? There’s no question that billions of people have sought after a god, but they have not always sought after the true God.
This fact ties directly to Adam and Eve’s sin prompted by Satan’s deception. Throughout the history of mankind, the treachery promulgated by Satan has been so thorough that the natural man can perceive only bits and pieces of the real truth about God. As a result, our conceptions about God are blurred. It’s only when God chooses to reveal Himself to us that the pieces begin to fall together as our eyes are opened to truth. Then, truly seeking God becomes possible.
Jesus tells us in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Here Jesus is telling us that our continuing to seek God, desiring to know Him more, is the essence of true life, eternal life. The most important thoughts our minds can entertain are thoughts of God, because they will determine the quality and direction of life. Seeking God, then, is an ongoing responsibility and privilege for all Christians.
But we also know that seeking God is not always an easy thing to do, not because God is elusive, but because our minds are saturated with misconceptions and deceits planted by Satan and reinforced by the culture, not to mention the sinful nature of our own hearts and the general deceitfulness of sin (Jeremiah 17:9; James 1:13–15). But the good news is that these mistaken beliefs are done away with through coming to know God and growing in our relationship with Him. This starts when we turn to Him for salvation and put our trust in Jesus Christ. When we are saved, we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit who helps us to know God and even transforms our hearts to want to seek Him (Ephesians 1:13–14; Philippians 1:6; 2:12–13; Romans 8:26–30). Romans 12:2 counsels, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We learn the truth about God and seek Him through reading His Word (the Bible). We seek God also through prayer and in times of worship. We seek God both individually and corporately. Spending time with other believers in Jesus who are also seeking God is important to help us continue to seek Him (Hebrews 10:24–25).
Second Chronicles 15:2–4 is instructive for us. This passage was written over two thousand years ago to a people like us: “[Azariah the prophet] went out to meet Asa and said to him, ‘Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.’”
Their instructions were simple: when they sincerely sought God, things went well, but when their desire to seek Him waned and eventually ceased altogether, their world came apart. Sin increased, morality declined, and contact with God ceased. The admonitions to the children of God of that time are clear to us today: “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” This profound principle is repeated throughout Scripture (Deuteronomy 4:29; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7; Acts 17:27; James 4:8). The idea is that, when we draw near to God, He reveals Himself to us. God does not hide Himself from the seeking heart.
“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).