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21 Days of Prayer and Fasting | DAY 8





 

DAY 8

Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.” Psalm 119:2



PRESS PAUSE: Before you do anything else, take a moment to reflect on and celebrate all the Lord did in you, for you, and spoke to you yesterday.  


READ: Jeremiah 29:1-14

When I think of our relationship with the Lord, I often think of it like that of a parent and a child. I have a little toddler, who my husband and I are obsessed with. Her love language is literally playing together. She always says, “Mommy, Daddy, play with me?” How can we resist? So, we play with her. Sometimes, this time is filled with conversation. Other times, she wants us to simply be near her because our presence comforts her. This somewhat imperfectly mirrors what our relationship with the Lord can look like.

Many times, when we first give our heart to the Lord, we are on fire for the Lord. Every moment we are talking and thinking about what Jesus has done for us. We are thinking about how incredible He is. We always want to get to the next worship service or life group. We’re reading our Bibles and praying as often as possible. Our relationship with him really is the center of our lives. But, if you have been a believer for a while, you know that fire can die down.  

Often, as we get further in our walk and our initial enthusiasm for all things Jesus has died down, we begin to focus more on the things of this life rather than the things of Him. Now, let me preface this by saying, even after salvation we do have to live life, continuing to fulfill our daily roles and responsibilities.  That means we have to find a way to live life while continuing to foster a deep relationship with God. And it all starts in the heart.

So many verses throughout scripture talk about growing close to the Lord through seeking him. Psalms 119:2 says, “Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.” This is one of the first of many scriptures that tell us to seek the Lord with all our hearts. To do this, we have to consistently go after him. It means we do not let other things hold a higher place in our hearts. It means surrendering the parts of our hearts that might love the created things more than the creator.

Having more intimacy with the Lord does not simply happen, just like having a deeper relationship with your husband or wife or bestie does not just happen. It is a choice. You have to confidently put yourself in a place to grow your relationship with the people around you. You have to consistently turn from sin and pursue His heart.  You have to constantly and consistently spend time with God.

You see, the tribe of Judah in the Old Testament had first-hand experience in drawing away from God. Before the people went into exile in Babylon, they had continuously rebelled against God. They worshiped idols, they disobeyed the Lord, and they would even worship other gods. The Lord continually asked them to repent, but they refused. As a result, they began their exile.  And it is during the beginning of this season of exile that Jeremiah writes a letter to them.

Everyone knows Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." But often, we stop there and do not look at the promise that comes after in verses 12-14, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you.”

Notice He says, you will find Me when you seek Me with ALL of your heart.  To seek him with all of their hearts, they could no longer continue to seek after idols. They could no longer worship another god because the Lord required ALL of them. He wanted every piece of their hearts. And the same is true for us today. If we want to be close to God, if we truly want to know Him, we cannot continue to do what is contrary to Him.

James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” This is such a beautiful promise. If we come near to Him, He WILL come near to us. 

In John 15, Jesus shares the same teaching. He says in verse 4, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.’ And, in verses 10-11, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.” In other words, to remain in the Lord’s love, we must obey His commands.

The other key component of building a closer relationship with God is to spend time with Him. Like Jeremiah 29:13 says, “Seek Me and you will find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart.” 

As I previously mentioned, my daughter seeks our love through time. We spend time with those we love. That means we should spend time with God to grow closer to him. It means pouring out your heart to Him. It means listening to what He has to say. But remember,this cannot happen unless you intentionally set aside time to seek him.

It is clear to grow in your relationship with God, you have to seek him with all of your heart. That means turning from sin and spending time with Him. Scripture after scripture shows us that we grow in intimacy by seeking the Lord and pursuing righteousness. Our hearts need to seek Him. Our mind, soul, body, and strength should turn from sin. As your heart grows closer to Him, you turn from sin and you are filled with fulfillment. As you obey His commands, your intimacy with him grows. And as you spend time with Him, He provides you with the knowledge of Him. He gives you joy and peace. And as He does, you will quickly discover that, in the most amazing way possible, your life is never going to be the same.










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