Do you fervently seek God?
Is God what you desire most in life?
Do you meditate on God’s glory and greatness?
David wrote Psalm 63 while he was in the wilderness hiding from people who wanted to kill him. Even in these dire circumstances, David answered yes to all three of the above questions.
Can I do the same? Can you?
A Bible study group meets in my home, and this past week we were looking at different options for our next study.
One of the possibilities was Jennie Allen’s book “Chase.” The video segments were filmed in a desert and the study is based on the life of David. I have not read the book and we ended up choosing a different Jennie Allen study, but the idea of chasing after God intrigued me. After the meeting, I asked myself: Do I chase after God? How? What does that even mean?
As I contemplated these questions, I came to realize that we all do chase after things or people. Our pursuits are different based on our individual tastes and desires, but we commonly chase after dreams, careers, power, fame, riches, and even future spouses! The last one resonates with me, and I think it provides an easy comparison to our relationship with God.
When I first met my husband, I was immediately enamored. I looked forward to his next call and couldn’t wait to see him again. I enjoyed spending time with him, even when we didn’t do anything exciting or fun. We talked every day, learning all we could about each other. Can any of you relate?
Thinking back to those days, it struck me that I wasn’t at all concerned about what he could do for me. Instead, I sought a relationship. I wanted to spend time alone with him and get to know everything about him. For me, this is what “chasing after” a relationship looks like. So I asked myself if I anxiously wait for God’s call? When God extends His hand, do I lift my hand to receive His invitation? In other words, do I chase after a relationship with God?
As I often do, I looked to the women of the Bible for examples to teach me how to “chase” after God. Amazingly, God directed me to Mary Magdalene. For many years, this woman was portrayed as having been a prostitute in her pre-Jesus life. However, there is nothing in the Bible that indicates she was a harlot. In fact, she might have been well-to-do. In Luke 8: 1-3, she is listed with other women who supported Jesus financially out of their personal resources.
The Bible tells us Jesus cast out seven demons from Mary Magdalene, but unlike others He healed, she stayed with Him. Not only did she travel with Jesus, but in Mark 15: 40-41 we are also told she cared for His needs. Later, she was one of the few that stayed beside Him as He died on the cross.
Matthew 27: 61 records a heartbreaking moment in Mary Magdalene’s life. Joseph of Arimathea placed Jesus in the tomb and rolled a stone across the entrance and left. Mary Magdalene was there when Jesus was buried, but she didn’t leave. The Bible tells us she sat and watched the tomb. I imagine she just sat there stunned by the horrific events that had taken place during the last couple of days. Heartbroken and missing His company she couldn’t bring herself to leave. I wonder how long she kept vigil?
Eventually, she did leave, but Mary’s heart still longed for Jesus. Unlike many of the others who followed Jesus, Mary Magdalene didn’t hide or try to forget her Savior; instead, when the Sabbath was over she went with spices to anoint Jesus’ body. What a surprise when she discovered the empty tomb.
Even more shocking, she was the first person to see the risen Jesus!
Although she played an important role in Jesus’ earthly life, there is not a lot of information about her in the Bible. However, we know she loved Jesus with a servant’s heart. Yes, He delivered her from demons, but her relationship with Him thereafter was one of adoration and service. She could have gotten what she needed (healing) and returned to her affluent life, but now she knew Jesus was what she really needed.
I picture her soaking up all His teachings and spending time with Him to know him better. She didn’t want anything in return. Jesus was enough. She didn’t run when things got tough but stayed with Him to the very end.
As in my relationship with my husband, I was enamored with Jesus from the beginning. I enjoyed spending time with Him. We talked every day, and I wanted to learn everything I could about Him.
But today, my relationship with God is too often about “what can you do for me?.” My prayers are self-centered, focusing on my needs and desires and asking Him to “fix things.” Unfortunately, marriages often devolve into this type of relationship too.
Chasing after God must never end. We will never, even in heaven, know everything about God. We will continually be surprised and in awe of His greatness throughout our eternal lives. We must be like Mary Magdalene and never leave Him but continue to grow in our relationship, allowing our love to deepen, our servant’s heart to expand.
I have decided to make an effort to be more like Mary Magdalene. I have listed below some of my ideas to help me focus on God in hopes they might help you too.
- When you can’t sleep, instead of complaining, watching TV, or eating (that’s my usual favorite), open your Bible to Psalms and contemplate on some of these great writings. Here are a few suggested Psalms: 4, 8, 16, 18, 19, 24, 27, 42, and 62. Nothing brings sweet sleep like drifting off with God’s Word on your mind.
- Select a verse each week and meditate on its meaning. Post the verse in strategic places around the house. Look up other verses that correspond to the verse you are studying to help with context and expand your understanding of the message.
- Choose an attribute of God to concentrate on for the month. Look up Scripture that affirms this attribute and pray about God’s greatness. When praying, focus on this one attribute of God and nothing else.
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night (Psalm 63: 1-6).
I know I haven’t posted for a while. Some changes were made to my website and a busy life has kept me from posting regularly. I hope to get back on a regular schedule.
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below. See you in a couple of weeks. Many blessings!