Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
Think of all the things you may be seeking throughout this new year. Is the face of your Lord on your list? The Hebrew word translated “face” in today’s verse can also be rendered “presence.” To seek the Lord’s face is to seek His presence.
You may be thinking, “Wait a minute! I believe that I am always in the presence of Jesus! He promised never to leave me.” That is certainly true. But isn’t it also true that there are times when you do not sense His presence in your life? If you are anything like me, the answer, sadly, is “Yes. I definitely experience those moments when I don’t feel like Jesus is anywhere close to me.”
There are times when we get so preoccupied with life that we may forget or even forsake our Lord. There are times when we trust ourselves rather than trust our Savior; at those times we find Him “unmanifested” in our lives. It is easy to shroud His face behind the curtain of our carnal desires and the shawl of our sinful pursuits. That is why God tells us not only to seek His presence, but to seek Him always. Just as we are to pray without ceasing, we are to seek the presence of our God continually.
So how do we do it? How do we seek God’s face always? The Old and the New Testaments provide us with the same answer:
Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. (1 Chronicles 22:19 ESV)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)
Seeking God’s face does not happen by accident. It will only happen when we are intentional about fixing our focus on Him. To be sure, this too is a gift of God’s grace. I think of Paul’s prayer: “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV). The desire and the discipline to seek the Lord are gifts of grace, but we must appropriate this grace as we go through life.
There are many ways to do that; as I often say here, reading the Word and prayer are at the top of the list. Remember, the degree of the presence of God you experience in your life will always be in direct proportion to the amount of time you spend with Him in His Word and in prayer. The promise for this is clear, “If you seek him, he will be found by you” (1 Chronicles 28:9).
So seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually! He has assured us that He will draw near to those who draw near to Him.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!