Salvation is not about perfecting our doctrine while our heart is of no change. Customer service for businesses, credit card companies, and the like seem to have all their i’s dotted and t’s crossed on how to respond to customers, yet it feels pretentious. The language and response seem right. It is all about presenting your best but not putting the customer first. Doing the right thing without genuine love is manipulation. Jesus quoted the Old Testament: people say the right things, but their heart is far from mine.

I cannot teach doctrine as if it is a discipline of the world that comes to fruition through much study. Jesus is not a science that we gain information to earn a Ph.D. and a relationship. We must believe from the heart and confess from the mouth that God raised Jesus from the grave after paying the penalty for our sins on the cross. If Jesus is our Lord, it must be from a bowed heart before a bowed knee. Because of the fleshes' desire to cleanse its outside to have an appearance of salvation, I come from an abstract position that can be used to judge the hearts and attitudes of those I am speaking to.

You have your p’s and q’s, but do you? Is your mouth speaking from the heart, or is your mouth speaking from a Christian education?

What are you seeking to get out of life? What drives you to get out of bed? What are your heart's desires that you consistently bring before God? You may be mentally searching for the right scripture to respond to this question, but is it the answer of your heart, good or bad?

Let’s walk through scripture and look at what people in bible days sought.

Some people seek power. If their life was to be summed up by their thoughts and actions, it was one of seeking power. Now, I’m talking to people who have changed the trajectory of their lives to follow Christ. People who have decided to go a different direction when they met Jesus. Let me also remind you that Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus, also left his life behind, took up his cross, and followed Jesus all the way short to the end. But what was Judas seeking? Was he seeking the Way, the Truth, and the Life of Jesus? Or was he seeking something else that derailed him before crossing the finish line of grace and truth?

Maybe Judas was seeking his best life now; after all, he was a thief and desired the comforts of life. But following Jesus is not a comfortable lifestyle. This is why many switch out the true Jesus with one made in their minds, as Israel did with the golden calf—same name, different deity.

People seek power. Some seek power to subdue others. Some seek power, not to be a victim. Some seek power to put those in power in their place. No matter why people seek power, it will not lead to the life Jesus gives.

Seeking power is a work of the flesh. It is in all of us in some form and to some degree. Jesus’ disciples jockeyed and positioned themselves on the right and left hand of power. But Jesus said it was the Father's decision on where people are placed. The disciples also thought Jesus was bringing His kingdom now because the tyranny of the Romans was long due for an overthrow. Discipling the nations wasn’t the disciple’s idea; power was the idea.

Seeking the power to make change is human, but we must learn not to fight fire with fire, which leads me to the two disciples who wanted to call down fire on a town of Samaritans who wouldn’t rent Jesus and his disciples a place to stay overnight. Justice and social justice is a seeking of power. And there are many unjust things in this world. Do you seek Jesus or power or Jesus for power?

Speaking of social justice, a man approached Jesus, asking him to make his brother give him half of the inheritance through religious manipulation. We always see this when we elevate justice over mercy. Justice to them and mercy for us. In actuality, we are to give out justice with mercy. But if we are seeking power, we may not be seeking mercy. And in this world, we must practice mercy over justice. In the world to come, justice will come in its fullness.

Another place of power that Christians seek is in the deliverance ministry. In almost twenty-five years of following Jesus, I have witnessed and taken part in deliverance. My takeaway is that it is real, but so much of it is tainted with the lust for power. Ministers go in to set people free but get seduced in the power struggle of the supernatural. Like the disciples of Jesus's day, they like the idea of the supernatural bowing their knees. But Jesus’ response was not to take joy in the newfound power of His name but that our name is written in Heaven. Too many Christian believers are lured into the devil’s realm with the thought of power and are then held captive themselves, powerless. Deliverance is real; don’t be seduced by thinking it is you and your power. Be glad that you have an RSVP to the kingdom of God.

Watch what you seek. Anyone seeking power is not qualified for it, as it will be misused. We all have limited power at home, work, church, and other communities. If you can humble yourself and not use your full force of power and authority but instead give out mercy, you qualify for more because power is not what you seek. When the disciples asked how to do the supernatural works of God, Jesus answered that their job is to believe; it is God’s job to do his work in us and through us.

So, you don’t seek power. Do you seek wisdom like King Solomon? Unlike power, wisdom is readily given to those who seek it. But seeking wisdom alone or apart from Christ and our Father will lead us to destruction, as King Solomon found out.

Wisdom, philosophy, knowledge, and understanding for the endless human questions of why don’t always lead to eternal life with Christ. Paul stated that Jews sought signs or power, and the gentile nations sought wisdom, but Paul preached Jesus crucified, which is a stumbling block for some and foolishness to those who are perishing. Believing beyond understanding the love of God at the cross will keep us tightly secured, a life of love and not a banging cymbal of doctrines we don’t know or keep ourselves. Some people are always learning but never coming to the truth. There is a point where we don’t need more knowledge; we need obedience to what we already know is true.

There is an earthly demonic wisdom and a godly wisdom. Godly wisdom comes from seeking God and his will, not fleshly wisdom that leads away from the truth. Remember Adam and Eve? Wisdom outside God’s purposes will lead us to a self-defined moralism, which we call good than evil and evil then good. We can’t make up our minds when we are left to ourselves.

For some, power and wisdom are not what you are seeking. How about fame, love, adoration, or the center of attention? Some people seek to be good to others as a form of self-worship. Jesus said there was no good but God. Jesus being God in the flesh is good. But we are fallen humanity and are not good enough no matter how many good deeds we think we do. People compromise a lot for fame. I’m not talking about Hollywood. I’m talking to the communities we belong to, home, church, sports, etc. We are in error when we seek to be loved rather than love others. We are seeking the wrong thing. Love doesn’t seek its own. We are not told to go into the world and get people to love us. We are told to go into all the world and baptize nations in the word of God and every commandment so that those with ears may hear and be saved.

Self-love or wanting to be adored is a form of justification. A spiritual word that means made right. Jesus became sin so that we may become the righteousness of God in him. We are set right or justified not by what we have done right but by what Jesus did right.

How do you answer the question from the heart and not a memorized scripture, ‘Are you a good person?’ I know some people who answer that they are horrible, no-good people. When I agree with them, they get offended, telling me they lie about their honest thoughts. From the heart, in reality, most people think they have done enough right to make them good. But they are only justifying themselves and not in Christ.

If you are born-again seeking after Jesus, you were of an adulterous generation, but now that you are in Christ, you are neither good nor bad. We are in him, justified. We can’t stand before the judgment seat of Christ and claim either good or bad; we can only claim there is no good but God. And thank God I am found in Christ! And that is good!

Jesus went around seeking to do good as we should. But don’t seek a man’s approval as verification that you are good. Don’t seek fame and adoration. Don’t make fans for yourself; make disciples of Christ Jesus. We all need affection and admiration to some degree but don’t seek it. When you seek to be seen as good, you seek to justify or offset the wrong that you do—self-justification demands. Justification through Christ receives and gives. Self-justification places us where we think we deserve God’s best, not because of what Jesus has done but because of what we have done or tried our best with our good intentions.

Remember the man who came up to Jesus to justify himself? He asked what the most essential part of the law is. Jesus asked him how he read the law. The man answers correctly but then seeks to justify himself by stating he has kept the law from childhood. Jesus loved him but told him that if he wanted to be made whole, he must sell all he had, give it to the poor, take up the cross, and follow him. However, this man wasn’t seeking Jesus; he was seeking self-justification, adoration, accolades, and other synonyms. If we surround ourselves with people who agree and never challenge us, we may seek to be adored in this life. When we become the center of our attention, Jesus is not.

Blind Bartimaeus came to Jesus, and Jesus asked a stunning question? What will you have me do for you? The answer was obvious, but Jesus still asked the question because I don’t think it is as obvious to us.

And that is the subject of this article. What are you seeking? What do you want Jesus to do for you? I have been asked by the Holy Spirit more times than I can count, what am I seeking? What do I want out of life? God knows, but we don’t. We don’t know ourselves. We have been separated from the Creator; how could we know ourselves? I have heard and agree we can only know God to the extent we know ourselves. The more I know myself, the more I need to know God because I can’t myself do any good. Many people will stand outside trying to get in, and Jesus will say, depart from me; I never knew you. I don’t think this crowd knows themselves, either. If they knew themselves, they would realize that seeking things from the world leads to death. Some seek Jesus for eternal life, others for the food and other things he gives. If they knew themselves, they would know there was no good in them and that they needed a Lord to take over the management of their life. But they never came to know the truth about themselves or Jesus and are eternally lost.

The Holy Spirit has asked me, and I have answered. I have often answered and asked amiss like the book of James states. Those were times of repentance. Other times, I have responded from the heart correctly; those were times of fellowship. Other times, I have not answered because I didn’t know what my heart craved and desired. Those were times of seeking truth and cleansing.

The two words that I would use to describe what I have sought in life are purpose and value. Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible because it is how I felt before knowing Christ and, at times, going deeper into Christ. What is the purpose of all this life and death? And what is my value in this world?

I’m still working this out in fear and trembling, but I have made progress. I prayed for many years for God to give me purpose and value. The prayer went unanswered for nearly two decades. One day, God answered me after praying again for an impartation of purpose and value.

The Lord answered with a no. After getting over the shock, I gained enough courage to ask why. He answered that my purpose and value were in him. What more is there? The Lord continued, if I give you the purpose and value you seek, you will fall to this world like so many before you.

The Lord continued that our purpose and value to this world are limited in every way. Our purpose and value to God is everlasting.

I said God took almost two decades to answer me, but in hindsight, it took two decades for me to have ears to hear. During the times I was rejected in church and the world, God would whisper to me that this world was not worthy of me. Each time I heard that, I humbled myself more and refused to compromise with the world. I also did not take the rejection to heart or seek justice. But I wasn’t hearing the entire message.

God has given me much wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, and I have more than I can publish into the world. But I am learning that my purpose, or anyone’s, is not what we can do for God but what he has done for us. I now value people for being in the image of God, even if they offer nothing of value to this world or the church. I value them because God values them. This world only values life based on what you have to give.

And the Lord reminds me ever so often of the story of Hannah. She was one of two wives of Elkanah, and she was barren. She could not enjoy life because of the shame of not being able to provide a child for her husband. Her husband loved her and asked if he was better than ten children. Well, God did open her womb, and we have the prophet Samuel to be thankful. But Hannah missed the fellowship of being. Like Martha, her identity was in her production and not in the words of Jesus.

But like the idea no children make a woman barren, no accomplishments make the man barren. But God asks me every so often, am I not better than ten books? Yes, Lord, you are better than all that I can accomplish. My purpose and value are not in me but in you. Even if I never bear anything of worth in my eyes or others, I am of everlasting value in the purposes of God.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, had two encounters with angels. Both times, they told her to fear not—the first time, fear not because you will bear the works of God. The second time at the tomb of Jesus, fear not, for I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

If we seek Christ crucified, we need not fear; we will bear the fruit of God and find an eternal resting place with and in him. Seek not the things of this world, but first, seek the kingdom of God. What is the kingdom of God? It is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

In all our seeking, let's keep it simple. Jesus crucified the righteousness of God, peace beyond understanding, and the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. Anything else we seek should be found in the above.

I do seek to accomplish much for God in publishing his words. But I know that success in the eyes of men is a much more difficult test than when only God sees us. I don’t seek success in the eyes of men as I seek not falling to the ways of the world which is where we get the fear of success. "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” God hears you and sees you. And no work you have done for him will go unrewarded, even if it is not recognized in this fallen world.

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