New Year's Resolution - Chase After God

New Year's Resolution
To Chase After God
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
January 1st, 2017
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New Year's Resolution to Chase after God  

Each year on the first Sunday of the Year, I always give a message on a new year’s resolution that we as Christians could take on for the year.  And this year is no different.  Today, I hope we all walk away with a new goal for this year to improve our walk with Jesus and with each other.  And this year, the resolution that I am going to encourage us to take on is…To chase after God.  

The question we want to start out with is…

Should We Chase After God? (or Does God chase after us?)

Psalm 23:6
…goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
as long as I live.

According to this scripture, God pursues Christians…or at the very least His goodness and love pursues us.  And if we look at…

Revelation 3:20
Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.

This again gives us the impression that God is chasing after us…and that Jesus is standing at our door knocking.

However, if we look at Isaiah 55:6 we see the other side of the coin.

Isaiah 55:6
Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call to Him while He is near.

This scripture clearly tells us to seek after to God and to Look for the Lord…

Psalm 63:1
God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You.
I thirst for You;

When we look at these two scriptures, it becomes clear that we should seek God and that we should chase after Him.

So, which is it?  Does he Chase after us, or should we chase after him?

The reality is both is ideal. There are 3 types of relationships:
NO one chasing anyone…this relationships is doomed to fail.  One person chasing after the other… This relationship is also doomed. But then there are those relationships where you pursue each other… and these are the strongest relationships. And that is the type of relationship we want to have with God…one where we chase after Him and He chases after us.

The problem is that some of us are in a relationship with God where we make him chase after us and this simply does not work.  Now, we know from our scriptures that He does pursue us.  That means it is up to us, whether our relationship with God is healthy or not.

The question then becomes, “What does it look like to chase after God?"…And to begin to get our heads around that, we continue reading Psalm 63.

Psalm 63:1-8
God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You.
I thirst for You;
my body faints for You
in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
2 So I gaze on You in the sanctuary
to see Your strength and Your glory.
3 My lips will glorify You
because Your faithful love is better than life.
4 So I will praise You as long as I live;
at Your name, I will lift up my hands.
5 You satisfy me as with rich food;[a]
my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.
6 When I think of You as I lie on my bed,
I meditate on You during the night watches
7 because You are my helper;
I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings.
8 I follow close to You;
Your right hand holds on to me.

This is what it looks like for us to chase after God.  We thirst for Him, we gaze at His glory, we glorify Him, we praise Him…we meditate on Him…we follow close…these are all things this scripture tells us…that we should do.

So, the answer to our first question is…Yes, we do need to chase after God…and that is what I am suggesting we take on as our resolution this  year.

So how do we do this?  Well, the Bible gives us an example…Jesus Christ.

2. Be Like Jesus

Now that’s a pretty generic statement, but there are two things, that I want us to pick up on, that illustrate what I mean…

a. When Jesus woke up in the morning, the focus of His day was God’s will…It was never about Him it was simply, what does my father want me to do today.  

Now I say that with the understanding that we don’t have a detailed record of what Jesus did every minute of every day of his life.  But if we read through the gospels, the picture becomes pretty clear that His goals, His movements, His teachings, His purpose, His driving force….was about The Father’s will.

And this should be our driving force as well.  The focus of our days, should be …What is God’s will for me today?  What is my purpose for Christ today?

b. Jesus’ habits - Study Scripture, Pray, and Serve….

Jesus did all of these things…
When He was 12 years old, Mary and Joseph  found Him in the temple complex sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. (Luke 2:43)  He was listening to them and asking questions…In other words, He was studying scripture, He was studying about His Father…He was learning.

He also prayed… He was continually in a prayer mode. He prayed alone (Mt 14:23)(Mk 1:35)(Lk 9:18)(Lk 22:39-41), He prayed in public (Jn 11:41-42)(Jn 12:27-30), He prayed before meals (Mt 26:26)(Mk 8:6)(Lk 24:30)(Jn 6:11), before important decisions (Lk 6:12-13)(Mt 26:36-44), And He prayed in healings (Mk 7:34-35), (Lk 5:16).

And of course His life was all about serving others… and ultimately sacrificing His life for them.

So those are the two things we want to pick up on as Jesus as an example of Chasing after God:  The focus of every day should be, what is God’s will today?   And we should have the same spiritual habits that Jesus had.

3. Practical Tips

The last thing we want to look at are some practical tips for chasing after God in our own life…There are  just a few here, there are many more that you can discover on your own.

a. We must avoid being out of sight out of mind…
While we might think that we can be out of God’s sight and out of God’s mind, the truth is we cannot hide from God.  Take for example Jonah who tried to run and hide from God.

Jonah 1:2-3
2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.” 3 However, Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence.

We all know what happened, when he got on the boat, God caused a storm and as a result the people threw him over the boat.  Jonah was swallowed by a whale...etc… So, truly, we cannot run and we cannot hide from God, we are never out of His sight and out of His mind.

b. Another thing we need to do to chase after God is we need to be on fire for Him.  

Revelation 3:16
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.

Too many people in the world today, are neither hot nor cold in their faith.  They are neither fully committed to God, nor do they deny Him.  Instead their Christianity is a matter of convenience and not conviction.

And the reason this happens we find out in verse 17 is …
Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,

When lose sight of how much we need God…we do not understand the need of chasing after God…but when we do get our heads around how dependent we are on Him, then we do feel the urgency and we do have a thirst for a better relationship with Him.

c. We must make sure we are chasing after God…not chasing after the world

Scripture tells us over and again, what happens when we chase after worldly things…We catch them…

Psalm 81:11-12
“But My people did not listen to Me;
Israel did not obey Me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own plans.

Romans 1:24 
Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts…

When we chase after worldly things, if we continue to do this, then God eventually will relent and let us do what we want, but it does not turn out well for us.  Instead…if we continue reading Psalm 81 what we find is…

Psalm 81:13-14
 13 If only My people would listen to Me
and Israel would follow My ways,
14 I would quickly subdue their enemies
and turn My hand against their foes.”

This year I am going to make one of my New Years Resolutions to chase after God with all I’ve Got This year?  Will you join me? 

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