Years ago, while I was praying one day for something I wanted, God spoke a life-changing truth to my heart. He said, "Joyce, seek My face and not My hand. If you seek My face, My hand will always be open."
As I said, this was a life-changing moment for me. I began to realize that up to that point, it had been all about me...and what I wanted. I began to see just how shallow I was...and that it was time for me to go deeper.
I suppose I was like most Christians are at the beginning of our relationship with God. It is generally all about what we want Him to give us or do for us. For a while, this is fine...I believe this is where we all start. We come to God with our list of desires or problems, and we want Him to just fix everything. But eventually the time comes for us to grow and mature.
God told me to seek His face. "Seek" is a strong word. It means "to crave, pursue, to make sacrifices to get, to go after with all of your strength and all of your heart." What I believe He was saying to me was to go after a relationship with Him as if it was everything.
Our relationship with God really is what matters most. But sometimes it may take a while for us to understand that. I remember coming to a point in my life when I had a lot of "things" but realized I still wasn't very happy. After praying and asking God what was wrong, He spoke to my heart and said, "Joyce, you are too shallow—it's time to go out into the deep."
You see, God was more interested in what was going on inside of me than He was in my "things." Romans 14:17 says, "[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness...and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." God cares about every detail of our lives, but He is more concerned about our inner life than our outer life. I believe that's because He knows when we are spiritually strong on the inside, we will be able to properly handle what happens on the outside.
As we focus more on Him than ourselves, we not only begin to experience more satisfaction and fulfillment, but our desires come in alignment with His plan and what's best for our lives. Psalm 37:4 (CEB) confirms this: "Enjoy the Lord, and he will give what your heart asks."
Nature has a way of demonstrating deep truths of God's Word. Isaiah 37:31 says, "...Take root downward and bear fruit upward." Large trees with thick, full branches have a massive underground root system that spreads both deep and wide. Without this support system, a tree could never weather a storm.
In the same way, we must develop deep spiritual roots before we can truly enjoy the big, full life God intends for us. This means cultivating a relationship with the Lord, finding out what He says about us in His Word, and becoming rooted and grounded in His love.
It is vital to build a strong foundation in God. That means learning to seek Him first, rather than things. So many times, we go about it the opposite way and seek "things" first—a bigger this or a better that or more of the other. However, without that strong foundation in God, these things won't be very helpful to us. If we don't first establish deep roots of faith in God, we will never be able to endure the storms of life that will certainly come.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matt. 6:33, NIV). These are wonderful words to live by. I can tell you from experience that when you make God number one, He will fill your life with peace, joy and satisfaction...and then some!
I encourage you to make a decision today to pursue and seek God for who He is and make your relationship with Him a priority. Dig deeper...I believe you'll discover what you've been looking for all along—what really matters most!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has authored more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and You Can Begin Again (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org.