Why is seeking God important?

Seeking God is the key that unlocks the life you were created for

It seems that everyone is looking for a magic key that will help them unlock all the things they need or want for their life. If you have lived for very long, you know that no such key exists.

Hard work and effort are rewarded. If you work hard and strive to put in your best effort, most of the time you will be rewarded for your effort. This isn’t always true, but it works most of the time.

The Bible says that we reap what we sow. This principle of sowing and reaping is something that we should take into account as we make our decisions. The reason is simple: What you do plants a seed that comes back to you.

However, we still long for an edge in life…a secret that will take us further faster. It is the quest for a magic key.

  • Everyone wants to ease the stress-load they carry, so they seek a magic key.
  • Everyone wants to make life easier, so they seek a magic key.
  • Everyone wants to have a better life, so they seek a magic key.

I’ve observed this in all kinds of people over the years.

What I’m about to show you is not a magic key, but it is a key secret to living the life you were created to live. What is the key secret? Seeking God.

Seeking God is the key that unlocks the life you were created for.

It seems that Christians don’t want to hear this statement anymore. We had rather pursue the latest and greatest advice from an “expert.” Life, we assume, would be better and easier if everything was simply “done for you.”

What If you never had to make a hard choice, and all the stress you feel could just disappear? What if you could simply avoid failure, and you never had to worry about the direction your life was going? Wouldn’t it be nice to live like that?

What believers once understood as the most important thing in our spiritual arsenal, has now been relegated to the spiritual storage room.

However, I will say again: Seeking God is the key that unlocks the life you were created for.

The truth is, seeking God still works…

  • If you want to live the life God designed for you to live, you need to seek God. 
  • If you want to go forward and find the peace that you long for, you need to seek God. 
  • If you want to make a difference in your life, you need to seek God.

This spiritual action of seeking God is the key to nearly everything in life. Some people have such trouble with being obedient and faithful to God. They are in the boat one minute and out of it the next. There’s a reason for that; they are living life from the standpoint of their own strength and effort.

Seeking God is the key that unlocks the life you were created for. It is the secret to a life well-lived. Why? Because, when you seek God, several powerful actions take place.

Why is seeking God important?

  1. You begin to draw near to God. James 4:8
  2. God draws near to you. James 4:8
  3. Your mind becomes aware of God’s presence. Acts 17:28
  4. You start gaining clarity because of God’s promptings. Acts 15:28
  5. A sense of direction and mission envelope you. Acts 4:20
  6. You feel peace, security, God’s love, and acceptance. Philippians 4:7 | Romans 8:37-39

Any one of these things are important, but having all six is life-changing. I hear some believers talk about how you should not seek to have the best life possible like somehow it is wrong to want your life to be good. But come on, I don’t know anyone who wants their life to be the worst life possible, do you? NO.

If seeking God not only brings me closer to him but also leads me to the life he designed me to live, then I am going to seek God for BOTH reasons! 

Now, someone may be asking the question: What does it mean to seek God?

The action of seeking God is simply this: Pursuing God’s desires instead of your own while talking to him and getting to know him better.

Learning to seek God is not hard.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Learning to #SeekGod is not hard. #Faith #Jesus #Prayer” quote=”Learning to seek God is not hard. ” theme=”style3″]

Some super-spiritual types would lead you to believe that seeking God is a painful process that requires long hours and quitting everything in life that you enjoy. However, this is NOT TRUE.

Seeking God brings joy into your life. If you end up spending hours in the presence of God, it will be because you want to, not because you have to. When you seek God, you build a relationship with him. Humans are created for relationships, so building one with God will come naturally. Any relationship with God that doesn’t feel completely natural is something that’s taking you down the wrong path.

Every relationship involves give and take. It is no different in your relationship with God. He wants you to enjoy being with him and hearing from him. I’ve seen people who run from seeking God because they are so afraid of what he might ask of them, that they run from the very thing that would set them free.

Listen: God has your best interests in mind. He wants what is good for you, and he has a desire to bring great joy into your life.

Seeking God is the key that unlocks the life you were created for.

If joy, peace, security, freedom from fear, and acceptance sounds like something you want and need, I want you to know; you can have them.

[clickToTweet tweet=”A relationship with #God that doesn’t feel natural is one that’s taking you down the wrong path.” quote=” Any relationship with God that doesn’t feel completely natural is something that’s taking you down the wrong path.” theme=”style3″]

Here’s what you need to do you to do this week:

  1. Start talking to God. Talk to him like a real person. Don’t think of it as prayer time. Instead, think of your prayers as communicating with your best friend.
  2. Read examples of prayer in the Bible. The book of Psalms is one of the best places I know to start looking for prayer examples. Once you see how other people have communicated with God, you can do the same.
  3. Share your secret desires with God. What is it that you want out of life? Tell God. What are you sad, upset, or encouraged about? Tell God. What is the one thing you hope beyond hope will work out? Tell God. As you let God in on your secret desires, he will open up your mind to see even greater possibilities.

If there is a magic key, seeking God is the closest thing to it. Seeking God is the key that unlocks the life you were created for.

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

Faith Building Challenge

Sometimes we know we need a little push, but we can’t seem to do it on our own. My five-day faith building challenge is the little push you need to jump start your faith. In it, you will find easy, actionable, and strategic steps to help you build your faith. I would love the opportunity to help you along the way. To join the challenge, sign up below, and I’ll send you an email to get you started.

http://larryshankle.com/fbc

The Serenity Prayer: Use It To Unlock Faith’s Best Kept Secret

Pray This Classic Prayer To Shine A Light In Your Darkness

http://larryshankle.com/serenity-prayer

We’ve all had those moments when our life seems to be in the dark. You seek direction, clarity, anything to point the way. It’s in these scenarios that you can feel the void of faith like somehow God is a million miles away. But faith has a secret that most people won’t tell you about, and that’s what I want to share with you.

Here is faith’s best-kept secret: Faith is about walking in the dark.

No one wants to hear this fact about faith. I’ll admit that I’d rather not write about it. We had much rather think of faith as something that makes things in our life cheerful, peaceful, and serene.

[clickToTweet tweet=”#Faith is about walking in the dark.” quote=”Faith is about walking in the dark.” theme=”style2″]

For complete transparency’s sake, allow me to say that I do believe faith in your life will produce these feelings at some point. Faith always lifts us into a greater place with God, just not always at first.

Often faith involves working, praying, and sorting things out during the dark times of your life. These situations are where the serenity prayer unlocks the secret of faith. It helps you pray the right prayer in the dark times.

The serenity prayer is well known and often quoted. It begins with these words:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Are there things in life that you cannot change? Yes. Absolutely.
Faith helps us to accept that God has a plan. There are nuances of his plan that we don’t understand, and frankly, there are portions of his plan we probably want to change.

Not everything works out the way you thought it would, but this is when faith is most necessary. The reason faith is so closely linked to trust is that you have to operate it in the dark. You have to hold God’s hand and trust that he is leading you and guiding you.

The serenity prayer reminds us that we have to develop the wisdom to see that some things work out how you desire and other things don’t.

You won’t be able to see all the outcomes you would like to see at the beginning of your journey. But these moments of trust have a powerful impact when it comes to faith building. They are irreplaceable.

As I look back over my life to this point, I see things from a different perspective. On the one hand, faith is absolutely about walking in the dark. Faith is about being comfortable in the dark, walking through the unknown, and relying on God to steer you clear of anything that would harm you. But on the other hand, it is about looking into your heart and focusing your gaze on the light.

If you’re following Jesus Christ, darkness may be all around you; but God’s light is burning inside of you. You need to look at the light.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you’re following #Jesus, darkness may be all around you; but God’s light is burning inside you.” quote=”If you’re following Jesus Christ, darkness may be all around you; but God’s light is burning inside of you.” theme=”style2″]

Now, allow me to be transparent again: Following Jesus and looking at the light still won’t necessarily reveal everything you want to see about your situation. His light is too bright. It washes out everything except himself.

Whether you are focusing on the light or stumbling in the darkness, following Jesus is always about trust. But if you just trust and follow, God will lead you to a place where you can gain perspective. When you let God’s light inside of you shine, you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

You may not see everything ahead, but the light will clearly show what God has brought you through. It is a perspective of faith that brings peace, joy, and serenity.
So, you probably know the first part of the Serenity prayer, but there is more to it.

http://larryshankle.com/serenity-prayer

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

In the end, if you will continue holding on to your faith, you will have the opportunity to see those things that you have trusted God about, begin actually to take shape.

It isn’t easy to have faith sometimes, but the Serenity Prayer helps us to remember that hardships really can be the path to peace, and that if we do surrender to God’s will he will work out everything for us along the journey.

Faith is about:

  • Walking in the dark.
  • Looking inside our heart to see the light.
  • Stopping to look back and see where we’ve been.
  • Holding on for what lies ahead.
  • Trusting God for the outcome.

Question: What are you trusting God for during the dark times of your life?

Here’s a growing list of articles, posts, and resources to help you build strong faith. If you grow your faith, it will be a key to living an effective life. Enjoy!

Faith Building Challenge

Sometimes we know we need a little push, but we can’t seem to do it on our own. My five-day faith building challenge is the little push you need to jump start your faith. In it, you will find easy, actionable, and strategic steps to help you build your faith. I would love the opportunity to help you along the way. To join the challenge, sign up below, and I’ll send you an email to get you started.

http://larryshankle.com/fbc

Find Out How 3 Simple Actions Will Improve Your Prayers

Approach God the right way

Today is NOT the time to stop going forward in your relationship with Jesus.

Today is the time to PRESS AHEAD.

See, no matter what you have experienced, or whatever the devil has tried to put you through, no matter the discouragement or even confusion that you may feel, God still has a desire to be in a relationship with you.

Praise God for that fact.

You can be thankful that God loves you no matter what.

Many people are dealing with discouragement in their walk with God. They have tried hard to overcome something, or to feel God’s presence, or to understand the Bible; but it seems like the harder they try, the further back they go.

If that is the way you feel, just know that there is hope.

However, hope springs up from a couple of different sources.

The first one is that you need to have confidence in God more than you have faith in yourself.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Our hope is attached to God’s ability and not our own.” quote=”Our hope is attached to God’s ability and not our own.” theme=”style2″]
We do not lean on our understanding.

Proverbs 3:5–6 NLTse
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

There are a couple of takeaways from this short passage:
1. Trust God.
2. Trust God with all your heart.
3. Seek His will in all you do.

Many people get discouraged in their walk with God for the mere fact that they do not use the principles laid out in this passage of scripture.

The foundational thing for all of us spiritually is to learn to trust God.
Trusting Him in the good times AND the bad.

* Trusting Him with our relationships.
* Trusting Him with our future.
* Trusting Him with our plans.
* Trusting Him with our hopes, dreams, families, money, health, and life.

We get hung up because we do not trust God enough. We take up the worry and bring the issues back into our hands. Doing this is NEVER the way to make it through.

[clickToTweet tweet=”We are designed to cast aside worry and care, and throw them into the hands of Jesus.” quote=”We are designed to cast aside worry and care, and throw them into the hands of Jesus.” theme=”style2″]

Some people try to trust God, but trying isn’t enough. According to this passage you have to trust Him with all of your heart.

It is like being a child and throwing yourself towards the Lord and just expecting Him to catch you. When you trust God with all of your heart, you walk in confidence simply because you are not concerned with the outcomes of your problems. You are leaving the outcomes to God.

Another reason that we get hung up in our relationship with Jesus is that we sometimes wrestle with understanding and knowing the will of God.

This passage of scripture says that you should seek His will in all you do.

I want you to notice what this scripture doesn’t say:
It does not say to know His will in all you do.

In other words, there are going to be moments when you do not completely understand what the will of God is in a particular circumstance; but you are seeking it.

You pray, believe, and trust, and then forge ahead into what you consider to be the will and direction of God for your life.

I think many of our problems come because we stop going forward with God. We become paralyzed by worry, doubt, and fear. They catch up to us when we stop.

  • We get afraid that we do not trust God enough.
  • We get worried because we do not feel Him enough.
  • We get doubts and lose trust.

Satan’s chief aim is to STOP YOU.

Certainly, his goal is to prevent you from becoming all that God designed you to be; but it goes further than that.

Yes, his goal is to stop you from trusting fully; but I think it goes even further than that.

Ultimately the devil’s goal is to stop you from being with God.

Here’s the scripture that addresses all of this:

Hebrews 4:14–16 NLTse
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.

Let’s understand what this principle in verse 14 means because it is a key to understanding the way we keep from falling back in or stopping in our relationship with God.

Jesus is always moving, always leading us somewhere, and this is important.
It is one reason we are not to stop along the side of the road so to speak and let our worries, doubts, and fears catch up to us.

[clickToTweet tweet=”God is moving, and we need to go with Him.” quote=”God is moving, and we need to go with Him.” theme=”style2″]
However, what about those times when you just don’t feel like you can keep up?
What do you do then?

You let God pull you along.

First of all, Jesus is our high priest. He mediates between the Father and us. He is for us, not against us.
The Scripture says: Let us hold firmly to what we believe.

The phrase, “hold firmly,” has a vivid picture that goes with it.
As you study this sentence, you learn about what God is saying the way to hold your beliefs is.

We think of “hold firmly” as “holding something with our hands”; but that is not the picture the writer is giving.

Hold – means to grab, seize, and take power over. It is much more than just holding something. We all understand what it is like to take power over something.

Firmly – means to embed yourself like a nail.

So when it comes to trusting God and believing Him, it is not this little bitty sort of faith that the writer is talking about, no, it is much more.

When it comes to your belief in God, your trust in God, you are to grab, seize, and take power over what you believe and then embed yourself in what you believe like a nail in driven into wood.

You are not going to remove a nail from where you drove it. It is embedded too deeply.
In fact, there are only a few things that can remove it:
– A pry bar that is made for removing nails
– The hammer that drove it in.

What this means is that no one, or nothing, can remove your faith in God once you’ve hammered it in, EXCEPT YOU.

Usually, a nail gets destroyed as it is removed

[clickToTweet tweet=”Your faith in God was made to be driven into God like a nail and never removed again.” quote=”Your faith in God was made to be driven into God like a nail and never removed again.” theme=”style2″]

Now, here’s why you can believe in God and trust Him:

15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.

Jesus knows what you are facing.

  • He knows the feeling of doubt, the sense of fear, the sense of despair.
  • He knows what it is like to be forsaken and alone.
  • He knows what it feels like to be forgotten.
  • He knows what it is to be in a place where you cannot seem to get an awareness of God.
  • He knows what it feels like to be tempted to sin.

So since He took your sin for you on the cross, He also knows what SIN FEELS LIKE. Plus, since He took your SICKNESSES on the cross, He also knows how you feel when you are not right physically.

He did not sin, but He became sin for us. (2 Cor. 5:21)

Knowing that Jesus loves us is the result that we should have in response to God’s gift of His Son. It is the action we should take because of embedding our beliefs in God like a nail

16 So let us come boldly TO THE THRONE of our gracious God. There (“there” implies contact and connection) we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

3 Simple Actions That Will Improve Your Prayers

Let me lay out the action steps:
1. COME

  • Before anything else, you have to COME.
  • It means to walk and approach someone or something. So coming to God is the act of approaching Him.
  • We do this through prayer, and through worship, and through declaring the truth of God’s word over your life.
  • Be willing to come to God and quit trying to make stuff happen on your own. You cannot fix it all. You need God’s help. When you come to God, you are going forward. It is the exact opposite of STOPPING and allowing your worries, doubts, and fears to catch up with you.

2. Come BOLDLY

  • With courage, confidence, and frankness
  • You should come to God with courage because you have embedded yourself in Him. Know that you will not be separated from Him unless you forcefully pull yourself away.
  • You should come to God with confidence because of the sacrifice Jesus paid for you. It is the blood of Jesus that the Father sees in your life that makes all the difference. It is the blood of Jesus that makes you a son or daughter of God. It is the blood of Jesus that gives you access in the first place.
  • You should come to God with frankness and the willingness to lay your heart out there for God to see and hear; because for one, He already knows, and for two, He is looking for you to have faith enough in your relationship to be humble and honest about your needs.

This phrase, “come boldly” also means to go with an attitude of receiving what it is that you need.

We do not go “get” things from God. We come and receive things from God.

To go get (take) something from Him is stealing, but to receive something from Him is an act of faith based on a relationship with God where we recognize that He gives and we receive.

3. Come to the THRONE

  • When you go to the throne, you are not just going to where God sits. That is only one way to describe a throne, but this word means more.
  • The throne of God represents His authority. SO you are coming to HIS power and recognizing it.
  • The throne of God is His spiritual stature.
  • The throne of God is His presence.

Come to the throne.

What is the result?

  1. We receive God’s mercy in our life. Mercy in this sense is an emotion AND action of God that is roused by CONTACT with us.
  2. We find God’s grace to help us. Grace is His undeserved favor on us because we are a son or daughter of God. Specifically, I believe, because we had the courage to approach His presence and His throne of authority. Remember, the prophet Isaiah was afraid in the throne room of God; but because of Jesus and the relationship He provides with the Father, we no longer have to FEAR or BE AFRAID of God.
  3. We receive God’s help when we need it most, at the exact opportune time.

By the way, have you signed up for my free course?

It is called Leader’s G.O.A.L., and the aim is to help you have a greater influence in the lives of those you care about most by helping you develop better goals built upon the four components of a great leader’s goal.

Sign up below and go through the free course. It will help you.

Prayer Focus: How To Use Your Prayers To Change Your Circumstances

Give Your Prayers A Laser Focus

http://larryshankle.com/prayer-focus

Do you have a prayer focus? If not, how do you measure the effectiveness of your prayers? Maybe this is an odd question, but thinking about it will help you. Prayer focus is so valuable because prayer is supposed to be one of the most important things in your life.

Prayer draws you closer to God. It helps you. Prayer also builds your relationship with Jesus Christ. I believe that prayer should arguably be the most powerful force in your life. In fact, if being a Christian were boiled down to it’s basic core priorities, prayer and reading the scriptures would be the key activities. You can’t have an strong relationship with God if you don’t talk to him.

So, prayer is important, but how do you measure its effectiveness in your life? Why wouldn’t you want to measure the effectiveness of something so vital as your prayers?

I have two suggestions for doing this:

1.) You measure the effectiveness of your prayer life by the answers you receive to prayer.

Now, this can be tough. There are moments when I’ve had prayers answered spot the on. Sometimes you get exactly what you pray for…verbatim. Other times, though, I’ve had difficulty seeing whether or not this is the answer or that is the answer.

if you couple this with the fact that sometimes God says “no,” you can see this method may not be the best way to gauge your prayer’s effectiveness. But the fact still remains, if God answers your prayer exactly as you prayed it, you have to conclude it was pretty effective.

2.) You measure the effectiveness of your prayers by what they produce in you.

Out of the two suggestions, I think this way of measuring is best.

Even if God says, “no” to your prayer, if your prayer made you trust God more, caused you to live with more peace, helped you to turn from some sin, or raised your faith level, It could be called an effective prayer. It did something powerful and positive in your life.

It is vitally important to have a strong prayer focus. Here’s why: The more specific you are with a few very important prayers, the more effective and powerful your prayers are likely to be.

We should all use prayer in at least three ways:

  1. Pray to know God.
  2. Pray to see change in your life.
  3. Pray to worship God.

But when it comes to requests, you should be specific. Be focused. Prayer focus helps you fight hard in prayer for what’s most important to you.

Two things will happen if you use prayer focus:

  1. You’ll know for sure if God says, “yes,” because it will be undeniable. Specific prayers produce undeniable answers.

  2. Your faith will always rise to the level of your fight.

Here’s what to do to have a prayer focus:

  • Maintain a short list of about five things you will work towards in prayer.
    • Maybe about something like being more generous, or cultivating a humble spirit…even something like showing more grace to others.
  • Create another short list of five things or less that are problems you’ll attack in prayer.
    • It could be the need for revival in your church.
    • Maybe you’ll pray for God to heal a loved one or yourself.
    • Maybe you need God to open a specific door for your job. You can pray about it specifically.
    • Maybe you need protection from the enemy in a certain area of life.

Practicing an ongoing prayer focus like this will help you to see when God has been faithful to say “yes”. It will also help you to focus on the few things that matter most to you. You can spend your time praying hard for the five biggest problems that prayer can solve.

Focusing your prayers is a little like shooting a rifle instead of a shotgun. The shotgun scatters and is effective, but the rifle is laser focused and puts all the power in one place. The rifle is more powerful.

Let your prayers be a rifle instead of a shotgun.

Faith Building Challenge

Sometimes we know we need a little push, but we can’t seem to do it on our own. My five-day faith building challenge is the little push you need to jump start your faith. In it, you will find easy, actionable, and strategic steps to help you build your faith. I would love the opportunity to help you along the way. To join the challenge, sign up below, and I’ll send you an email to get you started.

http://larryshankle.com/active-faith