PROVERBS 13:4 – The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”
I read it many years ago. It was a short quote but like a small stick of dynamite, it contained a powerful punch in my life. And it has stuck with me. It reads, “Right now, you are as close to the Lord as you choose to be. ”I often refer to it when my flesh tempts me to spiritual laziness or distractions in my life want to become fixations in my life keeping me from diligent time seeking the Lord in prayer and His Word. By the way, that temptation of the flesh to spiritual laziness is in your life as well. And so are the many distractions wanting to draw you away from the necessary time to know the Lord. Those are part of our spiritual battles this side of heave, but let’s “peel the layers” back on what is behind this thought-provoking quote-“Right now, you are as close to the Lord as you choose to be.”
First, God gave us sure promises of finding Him. Here is one from the Old Testament – “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12-13). And one from the New Testament -“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8a).In both, the motivation to seek Him is given by Him; He promises our seeking will not be in vain. God cannot lie. What He promises He fulfills. So, His hand and heart our open to us, but what He will not do is the seeking for us. And that leads to the second point and the theme of the day.
If we want to be close to the Lord and enjoy Him, a diligent seeking of Him must define us. We have already established the Lord’s availability to be known. Now we must establish our “want-ability” to know Him. The question is “How desirous are we for a close walk with the Lord?” Remember, God will not be known without a whole heart seeking. He established this criterion. And to meet it, we begin with King Solomon’s instruction in today’s scripture containing an insight and promise.
The insight is that a true desire for the Lord is only true if it includes effort. Allow me a paraphrase of today’s verse in a spiritual context–“The lazy Christian professes a desire to be close to the Lord but the lack of effort to seek Him through His Word, prayer, obedience, and participation in the lives of His people(church) reveals the desire is not genuine. ”A spiritually slothful believer may state, “I want to know the Lord” and even be deceived to believe that is true until he or she is awakened to the spiritual neglect revealing the want is not true. Listen carefully to an expounding of King Solomon’s instruction–the sluggard desires and gets nothing because there is no effort seeking what is a so-called desire. Now the promise . . .
Christians who diligently seek the Lord will be richly rewarded with the Lord Himself-the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. It is the whole heart seeking Christian who finds the Lord. It is the world-denying Christian who finds the Lord. It is the flesh-killing Christian who finds the Lord. It is the saying “no” to earthly pleasures and ease Christian who finds the Lord. And oh, what a find it is! The Lord Himself and through Him, the satisfying of every longing we will ever have.
So, do we want to really know the Lord? Don’t be quick to say “yes” unless our lives are willing to do the hard, but joyous work of seeking Him with our entire being. Here is a good word from the 17th century Puritan pastor/theologian John Owen to close out today’s nugget and motivate us to seek the Lord with desire and effort–“Slothful and lazy souls never obtain one view of the glory of Christ.”
PRAYER: “Father, may my professed desire to know You be true by my diligence in seeking You.”
QUOTE: “To profess a desire to know the Lord but lack the effort to know Him is not a true desire.”