You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek” (ESV).
Seeking God testifies that our joy is found outside of ourselves. We seek something when we realize that we do not have sufficient resources in us. A thirsty person will get up and look for a glass of cold water. A hungry person will raid the refrigerator, because he or she knows that food is to be found there. In the same way our hearts reach out for God when we are convinced that he has what we need spiritually and eternally. This kind of conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit within us. For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, in the Holy Spirit, and with full assurance (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 CSB; cf. John 15:26; Romans 8:15).
On the other hand, when God seeks us, he is not seeking to supply some deficiency in himself, because he is fully satisfied. And human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need (Acts 17:25 NLT; cf. Psalm 50:7-15; Romans 11:36;). Instead, God seeks us (Luke 19:10) in order to meet our need. God, wanting to share the immensity of his love, reaches out to us that we may drink at his fountain and be utterly satisfied. So he tells us that all his fullness is to be found in Christ and that he gives this fullness to us in Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority (Colossians 2:9-10 NIV). So then, we should realize that our Father in heaven really wants us to approach him in faith and through Christ by the Holy Spirit draw all that we need to satisfy our thirsty souls (John 4:10-14; 6:34-35; 7:37-39; 10:9-10; 16:24; Philippians 3:1).
Believers must be seekers. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob (Psalm 24:6 ESV). In heaven we will possess all things fully, and God will live with us in a way that is the completion of our present experience (Revelation 21:3-5). But now we are caught in the tension or pull between what we have by grace in Christ and what we still long for—to live directly in God’s presence.
By the presence of God, the Scriptures mean something richer than the omnipresence of God. Truly God is everywhere (Psalm 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:23-24; Amos 9:2-5; Acts 17:26-28), and he is fully present and active in the fullness of his divine power. But by the presence of God, the Bible means God being with his people to bless and help and encourage and make his love known to us. We have this presence through the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. As J.I. Packer points out in Keep in Step with the Spirit (p. 49), the Holy Spirit makes known to us the presence of Christ with us so that three events keep happening:
- Personal fellowship with Jesus – the Lord draws near to us to share our lives with us. God is not a passive spectator but an active participant in our struggles.
- Personal transformation of character into Jesus’ likeness – the Lord works in us to make us more and more like him, and we produce the fruit of the Spirit.
- The Spirit-given certainty of being loved, redeemed and adopted through Christ into the Father’s family – the Lord lets us know that we belong to him and that he will never turn his back on us.
Let us draw near to God. He offers much to his children who rely on him. He promises himself, the awesome God over all!
Grace and peace, David