What does the Bible say about seeking God? Here are 5 things God often allows to happen in your life when he is calling you to seek him more.
1. If the Trials in Your Life Are More Than You Can Bear, This Is a Sign God Is Calling You to Seek Him More
Jeremiah 29:11 is perhaps one of the most quoted verse in all the Bible. But very seldom is its greater context given. Jeremiah 29 begins as a letter “to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon” (Jeremiah 29:4). When we get to Jeremiah 29:10-14, it states:
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
Certainly this is a passage of Scripture not really directed to us right now but rather to those people in history who had been exiled to Babylon. With that said, we can still see helpful principles that do apply to all of God’s people.
One of those principles is that God often fulfills his promise by preparing us through our pain. Again, this famous promise of “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” is given to people who are in a foreign land because they were taken by King Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 29:1).
So the idea that God’s promise for good never includes trials and pains in our life is completely unbiblical. Therefore, one sign that God is calling you to seek him more is if your heart is being prepared to seek him through the painful experiences you are going through right now. As 1 Peter 5:6-7 states:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
2. If Your Earthly Blessings Are Leaving You Empty, This Is a Sign God Is Calling You to Seek Him More
Another principle we can see in Jeremiah 29:10-14 is that God’s promise for good to his people is always God-centered and not man-centered. Notice what it says directly after Jeremiah 29:11 in verses 12-13, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
God’s promise of prosperity is not about earthly possessions – it’s about God’s presence. He promises good in verse 11 but then says that good will result in his people praying to him and seeking him. So one sign that God is calling you to seek him more is if your unmet desires on earth are causing you to desire good from God. When this world leaves you empty and feeling lost, it means your heart is craving something this world can’t give you – God himself. As C.S. Lewis wrote in his classic book Mere Christianity:
The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”
3. If God Is Allowing You to Experience Doubts and Hard Questions About Him, This Is a Sign He Is Telling You to Seek Him More
So many people have cried out to God, “Lord, if you are real, why haven’t you revealed yourself to me? Lord, if you are loving, why did you allow this bad thing to happen? God, if you are listening, please give me the answer that I seek!”
So why does he let his people wander around in the dark sometimes? Why doesn’t God write the answers in the clouds to the questions we have in our hearts? Why doesn’t he always just give us a dream, a vision, or a prophetic word that solves the dilemma we are dealing with?
One of the main reasons God allows doubts and hard questions in our life is because these doubts and hard questions are meant to be used as fuel for the fire of our faith as we seek more biblical knowledge. People have asked me where I learned what I’ve learned. Almost everything I know has come from a nagging question in my heart and mind that I could not let go until I found an answer. Most of the knowledge we gain in life is only sought because of a deep fear, pain, or doubt that would not leave us until we found the answers we needed to find.
The answers are not always the answers we want to hear or thought we would find, but one reason God lets us go through seasons of doubts and hard questions is to motivate us to further study his word. If you don’t open your Bible with hard questions, you will never find the deep answers you are looking for.
As Hebrews 11:6 states, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Notice that faith does not equate to always knowing everything. Rather, faith is shown in our lives when we are distant from God but draw near to him because deep down we do believe he exists and that he will reward us if we seek him. Again, the reward is not always finding the answer you want to find; rather, the reward of faith is being found by God.
4. If God Is Allowing You to Be Tempted By a Gift He Gave You, This Is a Sign God Is Calling You to Seek Him More
The Bible is very clear that God never tempts us. For example, in James 1:13-16 it states:
Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
While God never does the tempting, he obviously allows temptations to occur or otherwise they wouldn’t happen. So why does God allow temptations and sin to occur? To answer this it helps to know what sin is. Sin is certainly disobeying God’s laws. But another way to look at sin is to see it as when you use a good thing in a bad way. In one sense, everything that exists was made by God because before God made anything nothing existed. But since sin exists does this mean God created sin? No, but God created the things we use to sin. When God made everything in Genesis 1, after each day it says, “And God saw that it was good.” Everything was perfect in Genesis 1. When sin occurred in Genesis 3, it occurred because Adam and Eve used God’s good gifts in a bad way.
This is how all sin occurs. Food is good but when we misuse it in gluttonous ways we sin. Sex is good but when we use it outside of marriage we sin. Words are good but when we use our words to tear down rather than build up we sin. Physical strength is good but when the strong use their power to abuse the weak they sin. My point is, all sin is when we use a good thing in a bad way. The problem is not in the gifts we misuse but in the ways that we use them. Therefore the solution must be found not in forsaking the gifts but rightly using the gifts in the way that God originally intended.
So if you are being tempted to misuse, idolize, or abuse some good gift God has give you or wants to give you like health, material possessions, or a relationship, this is a sign God is telling you to seek him more so that in your relationship with God you will be empowered to use the gifts he gives you for his glory rather than for your selfish gain.
5. When God Shows You His Abundant Love and Favor, He’s Doing This So You Will Seek Him More
Throughout the Bible we see the principle that we are not the ones who first find God. Rather, God finds us (John 6:44). He seeks us out first and then we must seek him in return. His love is not ultimately just about us. Rather, his love for us is also meant to bring more glory to himself. When he loves us it causes more love for him. For in 1 John 4:19 it states, “We love because he first loved us.”
Perhaps you’ve been asking, “I know I should seek God but I don’t do it as often as I know I should. How do I increase my desire to seek God more than I currently do?” The key is to focus first on God’s love for you. We are responders. We are image bearers. We reflect what we focus on. One of the main reasons people don’t seek God is because they don’t see all the good God has done for them. When we don’t know how much God loves us, we won’t love God. In Deuteronomy 8:11-18, Moses said:
Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”
God is the one who gives us the ability to gain the good we get. God is the one who provides our every need. Everything good we have is from God (James 1:16-17). Sin wants us to be blinded by the good in our lives so we become spiritually fat and complacent. But God does not bless us to make us apathetic. Rather, God’s blessings are a confirmation of his covenant love. When we know that God loves us, we will then have the deep love for God we were made to have.