What are you chasing? "We’re all chasing after something, something that we think will make us happy – comfort, success, a bigger house, or someone’s approval," writes author Jennie Allen. "But if we are all honest, it feels like trying to catch the wind. In my Bible study Chase , I really wanted to explore what it means to chase after the heart of God. We all want to believe God is real and to live like it and we’re so tired of chasing everything else under the sun. Like it says in Ecclesiastes 1:14, 'I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.' We are tired of chasing wind. We want to chase Him."
A messy example "In the Bible," writes Allen. "David was a wild, passionate, warrior king, whose own messy story I have heard my entire life. I read his psalms a thousand times, but when I began to look a bit more closely at the life of this man, something about the way he related to God just wrecked me. Yes, David committed murder and adultery – he was no missionary or priest. This man was both completely sold out for God and completely broken. He was in love with God. And he lived with an acute awareness of his need for Him. His view of God was so big. David actually believed God was real and he lived like it and there was something I found in his stories that stayed with me."
A man after God’s own heart Allen continues: David chased after God’s heart and I believe that this generation of women is longing to do the same. Unfortunately, we find ourselves stuck chasing all the wrong things. But when you look into the life of someone chasing God Himself, God alone, you start craving Him too. I want a life like David’s, brave and dependent and full of worship. He had a relationship with God unlike any other in the Scripture and, honestly, unlike any other I’ve ever seen. I want to know God like he did. I want to trust God like he did.
So many distractions Now I admit, there are days when I forget all this invisible stuff is real, and pleasing God is far from my thoughts. On these days I end up just chasing whatever seems to feel right in the moment. I seek happiness through friends, food, my kids, the approval of people, wasting minutes on Facebook, or catching up on TV shows. There are unending distractions to chase. As a result I end up exhausted and frustrated with my life and with God. In those moments I know in my heart that I would like to please God, but my head tells me that it would take a lot of effort to do that. The more I understand what God has done, the more I quit striving and simply rest in Him.
Trying to find our identity One of the reasons why we are chasing the things of the world is that we are looking for a strong identity. We want to know we matter and that we are unique. We all need to know why our life counts and what sets us apart, since life is short and there are a lot of us on this planet. It’s easy to have an identity crisis because we build our identity on things that move – things that aren’t dependable or constant. If we truly want to see ourselves the way that God sees us we have to take a step back and allow the Holy Spirit to strip us down from the self we have built up and let God build us back up in to the person that he has created us to be, just as he did with David. The identity we are chasing will fail us again and again, but the identity that God gives, if we will grasp it, is substantial and changes everything.
The need for courage God was so real to David that he was able to be courageous when everyone else just stood around, not doing anything because they were afraid. He was recklessly brave simply because he knew God was real and with him. Do we confess an intellectual belief in God or is He real enough to impact our circumstances? Do we see God rather than physical realities? Fear is not just a little thing. Fear is stopping us from the things we are meant to be doing, the things God means for us to accomplish. And we must begin to experience God and hear Him or we will just stand there looking at whatever giants we face, unable to move forward.
What do you really believe? Another subject we cover in Chase is how to know with certainty what we believe about God and how truly all He asks for our obedience and trust. What was so beautiful and unique about David was his deep affection for God and his desire to obey Him, no matter what it meant for his time on earth and no matter what anyone else thought. It’s difficult to trust God and obey Him completely if we’re unclear what we actually believe about God. How we live every second of every day will flow out of what we believe about God.
Running in the right direction It’s easy to run the opposite direction from God. Sometimes we have to just stop and turn around. This is called repentance, and it begins by seeing our sin for what it is. There are two places we typically run when we see our sin. One, we hide like Adam and Eve, making fig leaves. We hide away beneath the cover of religion or morality. And two, we run from God in outright rebellion like the prodigal son. Both responses take us further from freedom, further from God’s love. Repentance is the confession of the specific ways I have offended God, turning away from that sin and toward God for forgiveness. God doesn’t ask us to confess our sin so we will feel guilty. He asks us to confess our sin to find freedom and to come back to Him.
Being chased down It’s obvious that David sinned in some pretty big ways. But when God showed him his sin, he didn’t hide and he didn’t run. He fell before God. Something about coming to the end of ourselves, when we can’t pretend we are good anymore, shows us just how much we always needed God. Seeing our great need for God leads us back to Him. But while we are running after other gods, God is running after us. God chased us down through Jesus. Knowing that an infinite God is running after us to save us changes and wrecks every other piece of our lives. God is chasing us – despite the cost – to make us a part of His family. How can you live like David did, and allow God to chase you down?
The only thing worth chasing My biggest hope for the Chase study is that it would lead you to a place where you uncover the things you are chasing on this earth instead of God Himself. Also, that you would see how God wants you to love and chase Him above every other thing on earth for our own good and for his glory. We were built to be full of God, that’s why nothing else satisfies. And finally, that you would be pointed to God, a God worth dying for. God is invisible, and yet He is the only thing we can chase that won’t leave us feeling more empty.