[A message by Pastor Hyacinth Aneke at Digging for Gold Service on Tuesday, December 18, 2018]
JOHN 3:1 – “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.”
PSALM 91:9-10 – “Because you have made the LORD your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place. There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent.”
Many Christians like the message of hope, but as good as it is, the message of hope just motivates you, it does not mature. Psalm 91:9-10 consists of two parts; the first part says, “Because you have made the LORD your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place…” while the second part says, “There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent…” The most important part of that Scripture is the preceding part, but we all prefer the second part. The second part represents the message of hope while the first part represents the message of sanctification. Your focus should be on the message of sanctification and not on the message of hope.
INTIMACY WITH GOD
After Peter experienced the net-tearing catch in Luke 5:8, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O LORD.” Peter made this statement because he saw the ways of God and he was amazed. Peter had fished all night and could not catch anything. Jesus came on the scene, entered his boat, and told him to launch into the deep. Peter responded saying, I am a skilled fisherman and I have fished all night, but caught nothing; “nevertheless, at thy word I will let down the net.” At the end of the day, he got a harvest that his skills in several years of fishing could not fetch him. The question is: what did Jesus show Peter by this experience, His ways or His acts? Jesus showed Peter His ways, because he was an experienced fisherman who had toiled all night in spite on his skills and caught nothing; but when Peter chose the way of God, the act of God came. The ways of God is important because it produces the acts of God. The harvest is the act of God. Psalm 91:9 says, “Because you have made the LORD your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place.” When you observe this, it produces the result that says, “There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent…” In 1 Corinthians 3:6, Apostle Paul says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” Increase is not up to you, what is up to you is following and finding the ways of God. If you can commit and focus on the ways of God, the acts of God will become a common occurrence in your life. Psalm 103:7 says, “He made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel.” God can decide whom He will make His ways known to. God chose to make His ways known to Moses, because of the intimacy level. For everyone that had outstanding result with God, intimacy with God was very important to them. David says, “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1). You must desire intimacy with God to in order to get it. Moses first asked for the ways of God because of the promise of God (see Exodus 33:12-13). Moses desired to know the ways of the LORD because of the people of God he was leading. Every gift God gives to you is meant for you to be a blessing to others. You may benefit from the gift, but it is not solely for you. In like manner, Solomon prayed and asked God for wisdom to lead the people of God. Moses understood that the only way the promises of God in his life could come to pass, was for him to know what to do. Apart from that, Moses was not selfish. He knew that every gift God gives is meant to be a blessing to others.
Therefore, it is important to make knowing the ways of God a priority because His ways guarantees His acts. If you keep confessing the promise that evil will be far from you, and you do not know how to hide yourself in the dwelling place of the Most-High, you will find out that your hope will certainly be deferred. Affirmation without discipline is equals to delusion. However, you can make seeking the will of God a priority and still miss the acts of God, because you can seek His ways for the wrong reasons. You must seek God's ways for the right reasons. You must not seek God for what you intend to get, you must seek Him for Who He is. Even when the things He has promised you has not yet come to pass, dwell in His presence (Romans 8:35-39). When you seek God for Who He is, the Heavens will be open unto you. Moses and David settled in their minds that whether they saw the acts of God or not, they would abide with God. As long as you seek God for the right motives, the benefits are guaranteed. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When you get to this place with God, the Heavens are opened unto you.
FOUNDATION OF SEEKING GOD’S WAYS
To seek, find, and walk in God's ways with all the full benefits of seeking His ways, your motive must be right – to give God all the glory. You need to get to a place where you no longer need to make efforts for the things God has promised, because God is a covenant-keeping God. You do not have control over the results; you only have control over what you do. Your focus should be on what to do to please God. Many people unknowingly think they are seeking God, whereas they are seeking personal gains to satisfy the flesh. The result of seeking God's ways can be motivation to seek Him. The promise of God can be the motivation, but it must not be the goal. Your emotions should not be attached to the outcome of seeking His ways. 1 John 2:15-16 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
Below are some goals of people seeking God for benefits:
- People that have the lust of the flesh are selfish and their goal for seeking God is pleasure. Their focus is 'my right, comfort, entertainment and pleasure.'
- People that have the lust of the eyes are moved by their emotions and their motive for seeking God is success.
- People that have pride of life focus on their abilities to accomplish tasks rather than seek God.
The right purpose of seeking God’s ways, and doing anything for Him must be to honour Christ and bring Him glory. Prayer is one of the ways to seek God's ways. God knows all your needs, the reason you pray is because God desires fellowship (Matthew 6:5-8). If your focus is not to fellowship with God in the place of prayers, you may end up being worn out. 90% of the LORD’s Prayer is about God’s will. Giving is another way to seek God (Matthew 6:3-4). When you showoff to give, you get your reward instantly. You must give out of love. In addition, fasting is an excellent way to seek God (Matthew 6:16-18). Worship can be used to seek God too. Obedience is the key of seeking God’s ways. When you obey God based on benefits, you miss your reward instantly. Some people obey God to meet their personal standard of righteousness. Another wrong motive for obeying God is to please others. Your obedience must be to please God alone. When you obey God in order to cause God to feel obligated to bless you, you miss it, because God is not under any obligation to bless you.
The right reasons to obey God are:
- Obey Him for He loves you, because sin will destroy you (John 3:16). God will discipline you if you continue in sin.
- You obey God to set godly examples.
- To seek God and find Him; your motive and focus must be right, and you must deal with flesh because that is where sin reigns and dwells.
Finally, you cannot seek the ways of God if you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ.
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