When it comes to pursuing God, there is always going to be some measure of apathy and laziness to struggle with, whether small or great. But this does not mean that a Christian should be content with a small amount of nearness to God when he or she can achieve even greater intimacy.
A.W. Tozer once said, “Before we can be filled with the Spirit, the desire to be filled must be all-consuming. It must be for the time the biggest thing in the life, so acute, so intrusive as to crowd out everything else. The degree of fullness in any life accords perfectly with the intensity of true desire. We have as much of God as we actually want.” How does your personal walk with God measure up to this simple yet convicting statement? Do you have as much of God as you want?
Thankfully, the scriptures have many examples of men and women throughout history who pursued God earnestly, though many times imperfectly.
In Genesis 32, there is an account of the strangest encounter between a man and God. Jacob is traveling back home to Canaan with his wives, children, and servants after a very long absence. His estranged brother Esau is coming to meet him—with an army. Clearly, there is still bad blood between them. Jacob, rightly fearing for his life and his tribe’s safety, splits them into two groups. He goes off alone to pray.
That night, a Man appears seemingly out of nowhere and begins to wrestle Jacob. They strive until dawn begins to break, and the Man tells Jacob to let him go. But Jacob, realizing that this Man is God Himself, boldly refuses. He has the audacity to hold on to God and make a demand: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Have you ever made that demand? This is the heart-cry of the Christian who longs to be close to God. It takes boldness, the same kind of boldness a child has in the middle of the night, waking up his or her father for a glass of water. That is the kind of access a Christian has with the Holy God—if only he or she would use it!
Another source of encouragement to wrestle with God is David. Listen to his words in Psalm 63.
“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water…
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:1, 6-8).
Whether it is Jacob limping back to camp after his wrestling match with God, or King David waking in the morning with his mind refreshed and full of God, the saints old and new have never found God to be a disappointment or less than what He promised. He is everything good to His children, and they have complete and full access to Him—as much as they want.