Seek if you have not found. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss . . .” (James 4:3). If you ask for things from life instead of from God, “you ask amiss”; that is, you ask out of your desire for self-fulfillment. The more you fulfill yourself the less you will seek God. “. . . seek, and you will find . . . .” Get to work— narrow your focus and interests to this one thing. Have you ever sought God with your whole heart, or have you simply given Him a feeble cry after some emotionally painful experience? “. . . seek, [focus,] and you will find . . . .”
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. . .” (Isaiah 55:1). Are you thirsty, or complacent and indifferent— so satisfied with your own experience that you want nothing more of God? Experience is a doorway, not a final goal. Beware of building your faith on experience, or your life will not ring true and will only sound the note of a critical spirit. Remember that you can never give another person what you have found, but you can cause him to have a desire for it.
“. . . knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). “Draw near to God . . .” (James 4:8). Knock— the door is closed, and your heartbeat races as you knock. “Cleanse your hands . . .” (James 4:8). Knock a bit louder— you begin to find that you are dirty. “. . . purify your hearts . . .” (James 4:8). It is becoming even more personal— you are desperate and serious now— you will do anything. “Lament . . . ” (James 4:9). Have you ever lamented, expressing your sorrow before God for the condition of your inner life? There is no thread of self-pity left, only the heart-rending difficulty and amazement which comes from seeing what kind of person you really are. “Humble yourselves . . . ” (James 4:10). It is a humbling experience to knock at God’s door— you have to knock with the crucified thief. “. . . to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:10).
From “My Utmost For His Highest” [June 10] (Oswald Chambers)