I love classic literature like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Pride and Prejudice. All three of these novels were written during a similar time period and therefore share similar cultural motifs. For example, they depict a time long before dating as we know it. So, how did couples get together? Men would take time to intentionally pursue the women they loved. Like the men of these classic novels, God pursues the ones he loves as well. In fact, the only reason we can even consider what it means to pursue God is because he first pursued us.
Since we have been pursued by God, it is our duty to in turn pursue him with all of our hearts. And yet, I notice a few problems among Christian women. We don’t pursue God at all, we’re passive in our pursuit, or we desperately want to pursue God and simply don’t know how. God is calling us to actively pursue him, and the good news is, it’s possible.
What does it mean to pursue God?
A.W. Tozer said something that I think is pretty profound:
“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”
David says this in Psalm 63:1 (ESV):
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
And continuing that train of thought, he says:
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:3-4 (ESV)
It’s clear from all of the references I just mentioned that there’s something about God worth pursuing. Even though we know him, there’s still so much left to know. The knowledge of God is like a never-ending well. We can dig and dig, and never fully reach the bottom.
To pursue God is to wake up every day eager to dig. It is to be filled to the brim with God’s love and presence and still yearn for more. Finally, it is to commit your entire life to knowing him.
What does the Bible say about pursuing God?
Matthew 6:33 is one of my favorite verses in the New Testament. It says this:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Jesus spoke these words to a crowd of listeners in his famous Sermon on the Mount. Unlike the Gentiles who are anxious about what they will eat, or drink, or what they will wear, God’s children do not have to worry. Instead, they are called to seek the things of God first and trust that everything they need will be added to them.
I think of Matthew 6:33 most often when I think of what it means to pursue God. Our hearts and minds should be oriented towards the kingdom and not the things of this world. It doesn’t mean that we don’t have real needs, we do. But, we recognize that God is the one that we ultimately need, as well as the only one who can really supply the needs and desires of our hearts. So, even though the world with its troubles and cares calls out to us daily, may we fix our eyes on Jesus instead.
Jeremiah 29:13 is another favorite of mine that speaks of pursuing God.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
Here’s the context behind this verse: God’s people are currently in exile in Babylon. God sends them a message through the prophet Jeremiah and tells them that although they will be in exile for seventy years, God will deliver them. A time will come when they will call on God and he will hear them. They will find God when they seek (or pursue) him with all of their heart.
Likewise, when we seek God with all our hearts, we find him. He never hides from us. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, we can only seek God because he has chosen to make himself known to us. It’s such a beautiful assurance to know that when we decide to seek God with all of our hearts, we will find him.
Here are a few other bible passages and verses you can read about pursuing God: Isaiah 51, Psalm 63, Romans 13:9-18, Matthew 13
How can we actively pursue God?
Glad you asked! First, we need to recognize our need for God. This is key. We don’t just pursue him because someone told us to. Instead, we know that it’s the reason for which we have been created.
Next, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit for help. He is the one who transforms our hearts and helps us to desire God as we should. He cleanses us of impure desires that go against God’s word and teaches us how to love God’s truth.
After this, consider using the resources God has given you. These include prayer, the word, worship, and fellowship with other believers. Christian disciplines are important and practicing them regularly helps us greatly in our pursuit of God.
Finally, get back on track when you fall. None of us will do this perfectly. We’ll make mistakes and we’ll fail. In fact, if we were perfect at this, there’d be no need to “pursue.” Lean into God’s grace and receive the strength he gives you by the Spirit.
Inviting others into your pursuit
Before I conclude, I want to mention this.
“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” John 4:29 (ESV)
Remember in the beginning when I told you that God pursues us first and then we pursue him? Well, in the case of the Samaritan Woman (who is speaking in the above verse), Jesus pursued her. He met her by a well and started a conversation with her. He revealed the truth about who he was and she recognized that he was the promised Messiah her forefathers longed for.
Her life was changed. But, instead of keeping the good news she’d just heard to herself, she invited others into her pursuit. When we’re truly pursuing God, we naturally want to invite others to join him too.
I hope that this article was helpful for you. I believe that God is calling his people to love him and desire him more than ever before. We can do that. He has first pursued us and has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us pursue him well. He’s also given us his Word and made a way for us to remain in constant contact with him. The Lord is not hiding himself from us. When we seek him, we will certainly find him. May we pursue the heart of God every single day and may we grow in faith, in love, and in deeper fellowship with the One who first pursued us.