17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.
This verse makes me think of something that is somewhat controversial, but if we can consider this idea openly and conscientiously, then I think we will find that we believe in this idea already.
The idea I refer to is actionable faith—or faith that is shown through works. I know, “works” is a dirty word among many Christians. I understand why. We are not saved by our works. It is not possible for us to be good enough to earn eternal life. We are saved by the grace of God through our faith in Jesus.
However, faith, once given of grace by God, will produce many good works within us.
I think of it this way: Jesus teaches that there are two kinds of reality. There is reality in the spirit and there is reality in the flesh. For example, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. That which is in the heart is spirit, and that which comes out of the person is the flesh.
If our hearts are full of faith in Jesus, then there is no way that our actions fail to follow in like manner—not because we are earning salvation—but because we believe that Jesus is real and alive.
If we believe in Jesus, then we will seek Him. As we seek Him, we will find Him. As we find Him, He reveals things to us, changes us, and uses us for His good purposes—which are many good works—all to the praise and honor of Jesus alone.
However, because Jesus is abundantly gracious and because it is the “Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” we also receive a kind of honor from Jesus. Our glory is to bring Him glory, both in this world and in the Kingdom to come.
I want to encourage everyone to seek Jesus diligently. There are many things we can seek of Jesus, and each person can ask according to their unique need. Wisdom is one thing we can seek, and this is an important thing to ask of Him because wisdom provides us with the ability to apply the ways of Jesus to our lives more effectually.
Seeking wisdom is the topic of this proverb, but let us consider all things we can seek of Jesus. What is on your heart most of all?
Maybe you aren’t sure who Jesus is and you want to know Him. That is a good starting point. Maybe you want to understand the scriptures. Maybe you want to find the will of God for your life. Maybe you need strength to continue down the path that God put before you.
Wherever we are in our Christian journey—whether at the beginning or nearing our end—we always need to seek Jesus, and if we seek Him first and foremost, He will direct us.
You might wonder, how does Jesus direct us? How do I know if I am hearing Him? I know I wondered about that. All I can do is share my experiences.
I was raised a Christian, but I was not always serious about it. I was very depressed and confused. I did not know which version of Christianity I should believe in, or if Jesus was really hearing me at all. I asked to know what was true, even if I did not like it. This led me to a bible study series. I learned of the teachings of Jesus, and I wanted to apply these to my life. I saw that I could not possibly order my life according to His ways because my nature was in direct opposition. I learned that the Holy Spirit could be given to me in a meaningful way, so I started praying for that.
I received the Holy Spirit about a year later (I think I wrote something about it being two years. I was counting the years—2014 to 2016—without stopping to think that I began seeking towards the end of 2014. It felt like two years, but it was closer to one year. It felt like a very long time because I wanted it badly, and I asked nearly every day. I take that as an example of earnest and continual seeking. We are rewarded accordingly very often, but ultimately the measure of God’s grace towards us and His purposes are the cause. For some, waiting a long time provided a needful lesson that can help others.
Once I received the Spirit, having a critical nature that wanted to understand everything and know what God wants from Christians, I started seeking those answers. I did not know what I was really asking for, however. I did not know that learning of these things would mean going through a lot of trial and errors, so that I could make mistakes and learn the hard way. I did not know that I would have to face the weakest aspects of myself in order to be faithful to that which I was given.
I know that those who seek will find—but the process of finding that which we seek might challenge us to our very core. This makes us strong, and this shows us that faith that is fruitful will have an effect. There is no such thing as faith without works. Faith plus nothing is death, because there is no way that faith does not at least inspire us to know who Jesus is, and our lives will change as a result.
The point is this: Seek Jesus and if you are sincere, and if that which you seek is in alignment for what God wants, you will get it. Once you receive it, you will grow in faithfulness to that which you received as you learn to listen to the Spirit and be guided of Him. Following the Spirit is a harder thing to explain, and I think this is best learned through personal experience. I believe that the Spirit can act on us in a variety of ways.
In any case, it is a good idea to consider what you are asking for if you are able. Is it worth the price you might have to pay?
Salvation is free, but service is not.
We can seek many things according to our heart’s desire. However, I believe that our heart’s desire was preordained by our Creator, so all things are His will.
What do you desire of Jesus? Seek Him and find it.
Prepare to have your world changed, maybe even shattered and rebuilt. But know that Jesus is kind and wise, and though He does allow us to go through necessary pain at times, He will provide us with the ability to carry on.
This is not the easy-peasy Christian message that many people like to hear, but it is true. We cannot earn our salvation, but when we receive salvation, we also enter the service of Jesus. We have a part to play in His kingdom, now and in the eternity. This service produces works—work for Jesus to bring Him glory as He works in us, changing us into His likeness according to His purposes for us.
We are all on the same path as Christians, but we each have our own walk to take. We each have something of Jesus that we must seek, and if we seek, we will find. Once found, we will have purpose in this world and in the world to come—and I know purpose and place is something humanity craves. This world has much purpose and place to offer—but these often lead to destruction. Jesus offers purpose and place of life—even everlasting life in His kingdom.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
If you want to learn more about Christian faith, this series might be helpful for you: