Following Jesus is a messy adventure. We go from living our lives based upon feelings of the moment, to surrendering each day to His Lordship. This journey of surrender is a messy one. We have seasons of victory evidenced by spiritual fruit. Others, are marked by regret for allowing the flesh to rule our hearts once again. This new life in Christ is secured by the covering of Jesus, but also a daily process of shaping our hearts to WANT what Jesus WANTS.
As young church leaders, this process continues. Our hearts are still in the process of being transformed by Jesus and we have a part to play in this transformation. Of course, only God alone can change hearts. That’s the beauty of having the Holy Spirit inside of us. What’s better than having God with us, is having God inside of us, because He can change or hearts.
Our role in the journey is to pursue His heart. We must pursue the heart of God in our family, ministry, and personal life. We must work to train our hearts to want what Jesus wants.
Pursing God’s heart can feel intangible, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Training our hearts to want what Jesus wants is possible. Here are four ways you can make this happen today.
4 Ways to Pursue God’s Heart
1. Pray For One
Praying for one means that we ask God to give us one person to share His love with today. We pray that God will give us an opportunity to share His love with one person who doesn’t know Him. There is no other prayer that God cares more about than this, because there is nothing closer to God’s heart than those who need Him.
Scripture tells us that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. The entire purpose of the cross was to save those far from Him. When we pray for one, we are training our hearts to want what Jesus wants THE MOST: people to willingly know, love, and trust Him with their lives.
Each day, begin praying that God would give you one person to share His love with. This will result in a complete heart transformation. You’ll begin to see people as God sees them. You’ll prioritize things differently. You’ll feel different about how you invest your time and money. Your heart will love people with a greater sense of joy, because you’ll know your encounters with them are an answer to your prayers.
2. Be Broken More Than Angry
There is nothing wrong with Godly anger. This is an emotion God has created us all to experience. However, if we were really honest, most of our frustration and anger doesn’t come from Jesus, but from our flesh.
Some in the Christian world express “righteous indignation” over laws that are passed, policies adopted, and lifestyles that are now accepted, and often our response is an angry outcry. But what if instead of anger we responded with brokenness? What if the sin of others caused us to weep rather than yell?
Jesus, when he looked upon Israel, wept in brokenness over their sin (Luke 19:41-44). He looked upon the people He loved, and their sin caused Him to be broken more than angry.
Christ’s brokenness over our sin was the only reason He chose the cross for Himself and not destruction for us.
You and I have life in Christ because He chose brokenness and compassion to rule His heart. As you pursue God’s heart there is question you must ask yourself:
When people sin are you broken in heart? If so, this should move you to have compassion for them more than anger toward them.
3. Rejoice in Salvation
God’s saving grace can be easy to emotional forget. For some, God saving us has become old news. Yet, God delights greatly in those who turn to Him. In the Gospel of Luke Jesus tells us that when one sinner repents there is a celebration in heaven (Luke 15:7). Rejoicing commences! The problem is that, what moves God’s heart in heaven, should moves ours on earth. Rejoicing in our salvation and in the salvation of others helps us to pursue God’s heart in a new way, because it trains our hearts to remember our need for Him. As well, it keeps us from sinning.
Our hearts are prone to wander from the reality of our salvation and stray towards sin’s temptation. King David, the man after God’s own heart, knew this better than probably anyone. After committing adultery with Bathsheba, he was awakened to the severity of his sin through the prophet Nathan. After repenting, David reveals what going on in His heart. David writes,
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” (Psalm 51:12)
Somehow David had emotionally forgotten the joy of God’s salvation and it caused Him to seek out another joy to fill its place. When the joy of salvation fades, sin will always be a horrible substitute. Rejoicing in our salvation awakens our heart to emotionally remember God has given us the only thing we will ever need, Himself. When joy for salvation fills our hearts we won’t gratify the desires of the flesh because Christ has become enough for us.
4. Work Hard
God never ceases in doing good. He is constantly working to draw people to Himself. Oddly enough, He has decided to include us in His game plan. He has given us a position on the team. He has actually planned for it for a long time. Us being part of His mission is close to His heart. He cares not just about saving us, but inviting us to be ambassadors of His salvation.
However, many, even in vocational ministry, work without passion. Sometimes we work as if tomorrow is coming, when in reality it might not for someone. Tomorrow might be here for us, but for others, eternity is waiting. No matter what you do for work, paid or unpaid, God has a purpose for you in that role. Most importantly, making disciples of Jesus in relationships.
If you work at Kohl’s, you can reach the people of Kohl’s better than I can. If you’re a teacher, no one has access to your students and colleagues better than you do. No matter your position, you are in the business of ministry. Thus, there is nothing more important for you to work your butt off to accomplish.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. ” (Colossians 3:23-24)
As you work today, ask yourself if you’re giving your best. Working hard for the Lord will always bring you closer to Him.
What About You?
What would you add to the list? How are you learning to pursue God’s heart in your life?