By Joyell Nevins – CFFM Blogger
You didn’t sneak into the Kingdom of God. However you came to know the Lord – or are still figuring Him out – it started with His pursuit.
God doesn’t just sit back and wait for us. He comes after us because He loves us.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.” Ezekiel 34:11-12 NIV
In this passage, which continues through verse 16, Ezekiel is speaking the word of the Lord to those who were leading – or rather, not leading the children of Israel. God was disturbed by how His people were being neglected, and He was getting His children back!
Jesus also used a shepherd analogy to describe this sense of search and rescue:
“The Son of Man has come to give life to all who are lost. Think of it this way: if a man owns a hundred sheep and one lamb wanders away and is lost, won’t he leave the 99 grazing the hillside and thoroughly search for the one lost lamb? And if he finds his lost lamb, he rejoices over it, more than over the 99 that never went astray. Now you should understand that it is never the desire of your heavenly Father that a single one of these little ones [he was saying this while holding a child] should be lost.” Matthew 18:11-14 TPT
Image by Nations University
Pursuit over Politeness
Normally, I’m a pretty polite person. I was raised with manners, and since the Lord tells us to be kind, politeness is often a part of that package.
But sometimes, someone I care about holds the trump card – their moment is more important than my sense of decorum. I tutor, and one of my students is a high school senior and a cheerleader. My niece and I attended her very last football game to see her perform.
My niece is 6-years-old, so when she has to go, she has to go. And she had to go right before halftime. So, she did her business, and we were heading back to our seats, slogging through the ridiculously crowded stand.
Then, I heard the music start. I knew that the dances are only a couple of minutes long, and I knew that this was my only opportunity to see my student show her skills that she was so proud of.
So, the stakes changed. I picked up my niece and started barreling through like a linebacker. I no longer cared who was in the way or what they were up to; I had a destination to get to – and that destination was a person that mattered (for her part, my niece still kept saying “excuse me, excuse me:” she had not forgotten her manners!).
The very next day, I was in church, seated at the back right for Baptism Sunday. Baptism is not a requirement for salvation, but similar to communion, it is an outward symbol of an inner heart change.
I always love baptisms because of the motives behind them and being able to be a part of someone’s special moment. But usually, I am content to watch that from afar.
Then, one of my very good friend’s sister climbed into the tub (my church uses a large tub that they fill with warm water and roll into the front of the sanctuary) – and again, the stakes changed. I knew I needed to be up there, with them, with her, for this important moment.
At first, I was moving politely through the aisle between seats to get there. But, baptism is not a long moment. And once she was moved to the corner where the baptized were prayed over, it would be hard to find the family.
So, I started cutting through the seats themselves, in front of people. Thankfully, not literally stepping on toes, but I was also not going the less obstructive long way around. I had a mission – I had a person who mattered to me, and I needed to be there.
You Matter, Too
That’s how God and Jesus fight for us; that’s how they pursue us. Again and again, Jesus would stop in a crowd, or stop his dinner or honored activity, to take care of someone else. In the Old Testament, God literally fought for His people over and over. One of those times was when the children of Israel were fleeing Egyptian slavery.
“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14NKJV
While we may not often be in a physical battle, God figuratively continues to pursue His kids. He pursues us to bring us into His kingdom, and continues to fight for our hearts once we’ve said yes to being a part of His family.
“Where could I go from your Spirit? Where could I run and hide from your face? If I go up to heaven, you’re there! If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too! If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there! If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting! Where I go, your hand will guide me; your strength will empower me.” Psalm 139:7-11 TPT
We are loved, and we matter (or as Pastor Tonia puts it, we are loved and we belong!). God so loved us, that He gave His son for us. Jesus so loved us, that he gave his life for us. God raised Jesus from the dead, and they both still pursue after us, as is related in God’s words through Jesus to John to the churches in Revelation.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 NKJV
To hear this in song, enjoy Cory Asbury’s “Reckless Love.” He conveyed this concept beautifully in the penned lyrics:
“When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me,
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
But You have been so, so kind to me
And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away.”