All In: Pursuing God
Have you ever trained for a competition? Have you ever wanted to accomplish a specific task so desperately that you would do almost anything to make it happen?
That is part of Abram and Sarai’s story. In their desire to be ALL IN they pursued God. We will never know why God in His providence tapped Abram on the shoulder. What caused Abram to be open to hear from a God he did not know? Why he would be open to leave family, friends, and the familiar to journey to a distant land? We may not be able to answer these questions, but we can learn much by looking at the journey and Abram’s desire to accomplish God’s plan. It can become a measuring stick to use in our own lives to challenge our own heart or motive.
In Genesis chapters 16 and 17 we learn about this pursuit. I would encourage you to take time to read these chapters and be reminded of what the word of God says.
Running Ahead: In a desire to see God’s promise come true, the promise of a child, they ran ahead of God. Sarai gave Abram her servant Hagar to have Abram’s child. They ran ahead of God’s word, His will, and His way. In an effort to accomplish God’s will with a human strategy we find ourselves stepping out of His plan and running ahead of His will. The question is, who gives you permission to sin? The moment we step outside of God’s plan (word, will, way) we are transgressors. We need to seek His face and be restored in our relationship with the Father. We can ask Him for practical wisdom. We look to His word for confirmation of the prompting of His Spirit. We must accomplish His will, His way. Running ahead of God will never produce eternal fruit. It will never produce lasting joy. Running ahead of God only produces pain in our lives and often in the lives of those we love.
Running Away: In verse 6 of chapter 16 we see how Hagar the servant ran away. Most of us would agree that she had good cause. She was being treated poorly by Sarai and Abram did not seem to care either. Sin in our lives can and will make us angry, bitter people. But anger is a picture of what we often do, when confronted. We run away. Notice that as she ran, God sought her. The text says that the angel of the Lord found her. As an object of God’s love, He seeks you. We cannot run so far that He cannot find us. When He finds us, He speaks to us. Have you heard His voice today? Because God knows you, He will speak relevantly, personally, and clearly. He is not the author of confusion, so stop running. Hear His voice and respond to His loving call in your life. Why run away when you can run home!
Running Alone: Running away often causes us to run alone. You might say, I am not alone, I have family, friends, and ministry partners. But have you heard from God? In chapter 17 we are told that Abram heard from the Lord when he was ninety-nine years old. It had been thirteen years since the last time God spoke to him. That’s a long time not to hear the voice of God, to wonder “what if”; silence provides more than enough time to question and challenge everything we have done or not done. The enemy loves to get us alone in our mind and ask, “What if______”. Surrounded by people we can and will be lonely, if we have not heard from the Lord. But there is good news! Because of the Father’s love for you and me we do not need to run alone. We can have a running mate. He will walk, run beside us as we are yoked together with Christ.
Running Alongside: I think Abram failed because he did not pursue God patiently. Many of us are trapped by this impatience of our culture that demands instant answers, instant responses. He was possibly trapped in his thinking about past sin or failure. Yet, he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
We can see Peter and his denial of Christ. Yet he was restored and used in a mighty way for the kingdom. David sinned against God and after confession and repentance was restored. He had heard from God.
Conclusion: You may have run ahead, run away, or even run alone. I encourage you today to seek the face of God and run alongside Him. Pursue God and be ALL IN for His Glory!
Copyright © 2015 S. Lindsay Taylor. All rights reserved.
Lindsay has had as a pastoral focus the renewal of local churches. His ministry has taken him to several churches which needed fresh direction and renewal from God. Early in his ministry he developed a passion for prayer and seeking the face of God. He has sought to introduce a new style of prayer services into the local church he pastors and they are beginning to enjoy fresh seasons of prayer in concerts and summits. He is often quoted as saying, “Prayer is the most difficult thing we do.”
Lindsay has been married to his wife Kathy for over 35 years. They have three adult children, one granddaughter, and one grandson. He and his wife love the local church and ministering in it. They have served the Kingdom internationally as part of their local church focus. Lindsay is often sought after to speak and teach around the world in conference and mission planning.
Lindsay gives leadership to Strategic Renewal Canada and currently serves as Lead Pastor at Guelph’s Calvary Baptist Church — a growing, dynamic ministry that meets each Sunday in two languages.