Seeking?

I was thinking about looking for my phone.  More accurately, I was trying to find an excuse to procrastinate looking for my phone.  (If you’d read other blogs of mine, you may remember I have a penchant for losing phones–and other stuff.)

I decided that, since Ben wasn’t off work yet, I’d wait to find my phone.  When we were still living so far away from each other, I liked to save chores for when I could talk to him on the phone.

So I thought something like, I’ll wait to look for my phone until I can talk to Ben tonight.

I am happy to report that I realized the error of my plan.

How, exactly, would I talk to Ben on my phone while I was looking for my phone?  It wasn’t going to happen.

You can’t look for something and use it at the same time.  Nobody reads a book while they’re trying to find the book.  Nobody wears their shoes while they’re trying to remember where they put them.  And, sadly, you can’t show the IRS the missing receipt while you are looking for it.

You know, the same is true for worldviews.  You can’t be seeking an answer to the meaning of life and have it at the same time.

Our society tends to idolize the journey towards ‘religion’ or ‘spirituality’ more than the end result.

Sometimes people get caught up in the seeking or the journey more than the needed finding and the destination.

If you are genuinely seeking, genuinely on a journey, then you recognize that is not your end goal.  All of us should go through a seeking to decide what worldview we will believe and hinge our lives and souls on, but if that’s where we end our lives, we have accomplished nothing . . and find ourselves in the perilous position of entering eternity knowing nothing.

One time, on a plane, I shared my faith with a man on a plane next to me.  He never openly disagreed with what I was saying about Christ being the salvation of the world.  But he said things like, I’m on a journey in this life, with what seemed to be total contentment.

But true seeking should bring disturbance.  I wasn’t at peace when I was looking for my phone.  I realized I was in a vulnerable place.  If someone broke into my home, I’d have no way to dial 911.  If my car engine died on the highway, I’d have no way to call a friend to come pick me up.

–Seeking is essential, but it is not quintessential.–

Seeking shouldn’t be satisfying.  If it is, then you aren’t really seeking.  Instead, you’ve really set your worldview, and your worldview is noncommittal.

If that’s where you are, then you need to realize that the blessings in Scripture for those who seek will not apply to you.  You aren’t really seeking; you’re really avoiding committing.  There’s a big difference, but it’s a distinction pop culture doesn’t often make.

The world applauds people for not settling on a worldview, for not being sure what they believe, for exploring.  But as believers, we should be both excited and distressed for seekers.  Excited, because God will reveal Himself to those who are really seeking Him.  Distressed, because an unsettled person is at risk for any worldview and is not yet safe in the arms of Christ.

A lot of us treat our eternal destiny like I did my phone when I was ‘looking’ for it.  I was trying to find excuses not to look, because it’s work to look for a phone.  I’d have to get up from the couch and scour the house, car, and any place away from home where I thought I could have left my phone.

In the same way, seeking a worldview is work.  Anyone who talks about seeking and seems calm and content and unflustered doesn’t really understand the process.  Seeking is frightening.  There’s eternity at stake here!

Would anyone want to be wrong about their worldview?  Would an atheist want to wake up in eternity and find out that the God of the Bible exists?  Would a Christian want to wake up in eternity and find out that the Koran was actually correct?  Would a Hindu want to wake up in eternity and find out there was actually only one way to God?  What about a Satanist–would he fare well if he found out that Judaism is the true religion?

If you feel like a hobbit trekking across Middle-Earth because you’re on a journey to find if God really exists, you need to realize the stakes.

If Frodo and Sam failed to find Mordor, the whole of Middle-Earth would be destroyed.

If you fail to find the true God, the whole of your soul will be destroyed.

As much damage as Sauron could wreak out on Middle-Earth in a few short months, sin can wreak out far more damage on your soul for the rest of everlasting to everlasting.

If you think there’s even a chance God exists, you need to get very serious about finding Him.  Being an agnostic isn’t cool, it’s dangerous.

As an agnostic, you are admitting you think God might exist, but you are not yet sure of which God.  That’s a terrifying place to be!  Suppose the God of the Bible is the right God.  What will you do if you find yourself in Hell?

Seekers do need to seek.  But seekers need to take the search for what it is: the quest for where you will spend all of eternity.

. . One last note about seeking.  Do you remember how I said that I couldn’t use my phone until I found it?  Until you find what you believe, you cannot use it.  So what do you use to get through life?  That is, what worldview helps you decide what is right and wrong?

Any worldview you want in that moment, because you don’t have a framework for morality.

Not only is your eternity vulnerable, but your life on earth is very vulnerable, too.  You could make decisions that have grievous impact on you later once you decide upon a worldview.  Only when you settle on a worldview will you have a reason for anything you do, or choose not to do, in this life.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (God, quoted in Matthew 7:7-8, NIV)

___________________________________________________

From Ben’s Pen:

There is merit to the journey itself, the process of seeking.  There are things you learn along the way that you wouldn’t know if you skipped straight to the end.  But the end is still the goal.  Without a destination, you’re not on a journey, you’re just wandering, lost and aimless.

The other day when Teej came to pick me up after work, she decided to leave the car and meet me halfway.  But we ended up missing each other along the way.  I found the empty car and she found my office building.  So I went looking for her.  It was fun, kind of like a game of hide-and-seek.  But what if I hadn’t found her?  What if I said, “The seeking is the important thing, not the finding”?  What if I had deliberately turned away from wherever she may have been in order to keep seeking her?  We both would have had a very sad and lonely weekend.

Seeking is important, and for a time there may even be enjoyment in the process.  But if you don’t find your goal, delight will quickly turn to hardship.  If you say you are “content to search”, then deep down, you don’t really want to find.  And if you don’t want to find, then you’re not really searching, are you?  And if you’re not really searching, then you’re not really “content to search” after all.

“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (God, quoted in Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)

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