by Candee Rinde • July 5, 2020
At 19, a year into college, I felt empty inside. I had no reason to live. I was not suicidal, just very empty. I was invited to a college/careers water ski trip with a church, and I went. The people there had that “thing” that I was missing. I didn’t know what it was or understand it, but I recognized that I was empty and they were filled. So I started going to church with them. As I heard the Bible taught to me, I knew it was true as if it had been true all along and I just never knew it. And all these people around me at church, they had this relationship with God that I didn’t have. But I wanted it. I knew that was the answer—that “thing” that I was missing. So I kept going to church, learning, seeking—I was hungry for God, and as I searched for Him more He filled me with more of Him. I found purpose, grace, contentment, and confidence from the relationship I found with God.
We’re never going to seek God if we’re not hungry. If we’re not empty. If we’re already full—full of ourself, full of the trappings of this life—we’ll never seek God above ourself if we feel full and content.
But let me implore you, reason with you a bit, that if you are full of yourself, building your own kingdom, you are not happy, and you’re full of fears, uncertainties, and anxieties.
QUOTES from “The Unshakeable Kingdom and The Unchanging Person” by E. Stanley Jones:
“Every self-centered person is an unhappy person—no exception. Center yourself on yourself and you won’t like yourself and nobody else will like you. …… They do as they like, and then they don’t like what they do. They have their way, and then they don’t like their way. They express themselves, and then they don’t like the selves they are expressing. Why? Because we were never intended to be the center of the universe—to be God. If you try to be God, organize life around yourself as God, you run against the grain of the universe. The universe won’t back your being God. So you are frustrated. You are made to belong—to belong to the Kingdom. Seek that first and all these will be added to you; seek yourself first and everything, including yourself, will be subtracted from you.”
Jesus said in Matthew 16:25- Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
“And now you can love yourself because you love something (the Kingdom) and someone (Christ) more than yourself. You in your own hands is a problem and a pain; you in the hands of Christ is a possibility and a power.”
[example of law makers breaking their own laws]
"But the God who not only obeys His own laws, but who would go the second mile and take on Himself the consequences of disobedience of those who break the laws and would bear them in His own body on a tree—that God can have my heart without reservation and without qualification. The self-giving was good for God—it is also good for us.”
“Then, here is another side effect: you will be fit for His acceptance. What produced acceptance? Not joining the order, not vows, not different dress, not renunciation of this or that, not believing in Jesus, but just one thing: self-surrender. You don’t have to be good before you are accepted—you have to be His.”
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
It takes some work on our parts to sacrifice our selves for God. To present our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls as a living sacrifice. We have to put forth the effort. Jesus said “You will seek Me and you will find Me when you search with all your heart.” We have to seek Him whole-heartedly, not half-heartedly. Not an hour on Sundays. Search for Him with all your heart. Being unwilling to make much sacrifice to God is saying “I really love myself more.” And what happens when we run out of time?
Isaiah 55:6-7- 6Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their way, and sinners their thoughts; Let them turn to the Lord to find mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
Don’t wait until it’s too late! He will come like a thief in the night. You don’t know what hour your life will be demanded of you. You’re not promised tomorrow. Then what will you say to God when you’re standing before Him, and you’ve spent your life living for yourself.
Do you think anything you’re holding onto in this life will last? Do you think you can keep it? You are going to die—and it doesn’t matter how or when, that’s irrelevant, you’re going to die--and everything you have here will all be lost. Every bit of it. But spend everything He gives you for Him, and you will save it. If it’s not His, it will be wasted.
Matthew 6:19-21- 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is like a treasure in a field, and when a man found it, he went and sold everything he had and bought the field in order to get the treasure.” We must seek God like He is the ultimate treasure, because He is! We must seek after Him like our tanks are on empty and He has the only fuel in town!
No one, certainly not God, expects us to have magnificent faith over night. But we will never have any faith if we do not seek after Him like He holds the keys to life and death, and our very lives are hanging in the balance. And without faith it is impossible to please God. And He doesn’t want us to take up this little task, or give up this little thing. He wants YOU. All of you. And He says you’ll only find me when you search with all your heart. If you don’t really want me, if you’re content with your life, I’ll leave you to it. But if you want me, you won’t let anything hold you back from finding me. And He wants you to find Him!
When I was young my family went to Yosemite often—a few times a year. It’s my favorite place in the world. One night I was lying in my sleeping bag in Yosemite, and praising God for what an amazing place—with all the huge granite cliffs and rock features, waterfalls everywhere, giant sequoia’s you can drive a car through, the Merced River running through it all, and on and on—what an amazing place that God created for me to enjoy. And amidst my praising Him He broke into my thoughts with the words of a song, “And then in the silence He whispers, my child I created you too. And your my most precious creation. I even gave My Son for you.” It hit my heart like a ton of bricks! Here I am loving on God, and He loved on me right back! What kind of love is this! How great of love God has for us! And I want to point out, that He created YOU TOO! And you’re His most precious creation, He even gave His Son for YOU!
And would you hold anything back from the God who took your punishment for breaking His law so He could be with you? And He’s pleading with you, there’s nothing here that’s worth holding onto; nothing that will fill you. And it’s all going to be destroyed anyway. Let it go He says, and follow Me, and I will give you abundant life.
It upsets us when bad things happen because subconsciously we know that the God who made all the laws of the universe allows His laws to be broken. But what we fail to realize is that we are also breaking His laws—out of compliance with His laws by our very nature. And He is patient to wait, to bear with us, paying the penalty for His broken laws, so that we could be saved.