I heard a great story today!
My friend, Joann, told me that as small children, she and her sister loved to read! Hungry for books, they would walk blocks by themselves to their school in the summer so Mr. Charlie, the custodian, would open the library for them. Filling grocery bags full of books, they would tote them home and gobble up these stories, never getting enough. Then, they’d go back for more!
Since the public library was two miles away and their mother couldn’t take them, Joann and her sister, only seven and nine years old, learned how to pursue what they loved on their own. They walked. They asked for help. They even struggled some. Whatever it took to let learning grow up inside of them, they we willing to do. It made them into the people they are today.
I want some of that! Don’t you?
I want to pursue God like those little girls pursued reading; To walk as far as it takes and to do whatever is required to know what I need to know.
However, if I’m honest, I don’t always place the pursuit of growing in God as a priority. That’s a little hard for me to admit.
I do love God! I talk with Him every day, and I consider myself an unshakable follower of Christ. Yet, my attention and time are often diverted away from instead of towards the pursuit of Him. If this is true, is God really my priority?
Merriam-Webster defines priority as, “Something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives.” If this is also true, how can I make a shift to pursue God better?
To be clear, I don’t expect myself to be perfect, and I don’t think God requires perfection either; but He does help believers to grow if we’re willing. Ultimately, I believe God would take willingness of heart over perfection any day!
With willingness, there will be growth.
There is a great lesson here for us. And as with so many lessons, we are pointed back to Jesus and the lessons He taught his twelve disciples.
Jesus’ disciples came to Him one day, asking who among them ranks the highest; who’s the best of the best? He lifts up a child playing at His feet and explains that pursuing the Father like a child is what He holds highest. He values humility, openness and a hunger to learn.
“I’m telling you…that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.
Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child,
will rank high in God’s kingdom.”
Maybe you and I can learn this lesson too, if we take the same steps Joann and her sister took. Even though our journeys are going to be unique, these ideas may help move each of us forward in our own way.
Take the Walk
Go find some place where others are seeking God too. It could be a church, Bible study group, or just coffee with another follower of Christ. I’m not sure if misery loves company, but I know GROWTH does!
Do It Often
Like any other learning situation, making it a habit helps. Cozy up with your Bible or devotional book at the same time each day. Find a prayer place and meet God there daily. Meet with a group once a week. Whatever works for you… do it often and regularly.
Ask Someone Who Has the Keys
Like Mr. Charlie, connect with someone who has key knowledge, who already lives out their faith, and ask them to help. How do they grow? What have they learned? How does God speak to them, and how do they best listen and follow?
Fill Your Paper Bag
There are so many avenues to grow! First, start reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and hear firsthand what Jesus says and does. Try podcasts from trusted churches or our own Choose Chat Podcast, which is releasing next week! Put on God tunes on a walk, whatever helps you “fill your bag” and fill your heart.
Have Fun with It
Picture Joann and her sis lying under a tree with their books, drinking in the stories and giggling together! Switch it up, keep it fun and fresh to make your time with God special. Fun is a great encourager! Don’t be surprised if you start craving your time with God.
Okay, dear friends, I saved the best part for last!
It’s this wonderful truth: That while you and I have been talking, exploring all the ways we can grow and pursue God, God has been pursuing YOU! From your first day on earth, this God of love has been running after you, wanting and waiting for a relationship with YOU. He’s been pursuing you, not for a moment or just since you started knowing Him…but for ALWAYS!
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
Jeremiah 31:3 (ESV)
“…If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:7-10 ( NIV84)
As you go back to your busy lives, it is my hope that each of us will start adding ways to grow closer to God and greater in the knowledge of Him. May your pursuit of God become like a child’s, humble, full of joy, and with an unquenchable hunger to know better our God of love.
I’ll see you under the tree, friend! And bring a bag of good books!