I'm going to try to make this post as brief and straight to the point as possible (like that has ever worked). I'd also like to say that I am as guilty of what I'm writing about as anyone else who might get their conscience pricked while reading this. I was reading/studying my Bible this morning and came across a verse I had previously marked out. For some reason I lingered there a while, reading it and feeling God was trying to say something to me through the verse. I read the verse, over and over again till one word in it began to stand out, and that word was "earnestly". What I did next, I admit, was a bit strange as I thought I had a good understanding of what the word meant but in hindsight, I see it was very necessary. By God's leading, I picked my phone up and searched for a dictionary definition of earnestly and then everything became clearer - my accidental foray into the Book of Hebrews and my fascination with the word "earnestly" all started to make sense to me. The first definition of earnestly I found read:
"...with sincere and intense conviction."
I was pretty sure I knew what intense meant so I searched for sincere and came up with,
"...free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings."
Almost immediately, I sank to my knees and asked God for mercy, like literally begged for mercy and asked Him to take away everything that was making me seek Him for insincere reasons because I knew I did. I really can't share everything here because some stories are really personal to me but I'm sure if you do some soul searching, you'd quickly relate with what I was going through in that moment. I felt such shame because I knew; I knew that my seeking God wasn't always free from pretense. As a result, my prayer life would almost always come most alive just before my exams or a performance or ministration, simply because I needed God's help to see me through. Or worse still after a major mistake when I needed God to fix things for me, and once He was done I would be gone as far away as possible to be close enough to come back. And all that happened because I wasn't earnestly seeking Him. I was seeking Him quite alright but my search didn't proceed from genuine feelings. I just saw Him as a means to an end and so when things didn't go the way I thought He'd make them go (and that happened quite a few times), I would get upset and pack my bags.
That's wrong in every way possible and today I realized I had been living that way for a while. I was chasing God's rewards which ironically, are meant only for those who seek Him without thoughts of any reward being attached to their followership.
And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists
and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
God can tell the difference between those who seek Him earnestly and those who do it in return for something. As such, He gets hurts when He's sought after just for selfish reasons and definitely would not reward such selfishness.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 NLT
But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.
Matthew 6:33 AMP
For the glory of God,