My soul follows hard after You; Your right hand upholds me.
The things we value, the things we are passionate about become our pursuit. Psalms 63, we find the essence of our pursuit of God. The meaning of “follows hard after” in the Hebrew is to cling to or take hold of. We lay hold of God in our passionate pursuit of Him.
Philippians 3:9, The Passion Translation, Paul writes:
My passion is to be consumed with him and not clinging to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God.
Paul teaches us in Philippians 3 why it is important to follow hard after God:
- We follow hard after God to Know Him
Philippians 3:7-8, The Passion Translation
7 Yet all of the accomplishments that I once took credit for, I’ve now forsaken them and I regard it all as nothing compared to the delight of experiencing Jesus Christ as my Lord! 8 To truly know him meant letting go of everything from my past and throwing all my boasting on the garbage heap. It’s all like a pile of manure to me now, so that I may be enriched in the reality of knowing Jesus Christ and embrace him as Lord in all of his greatness.
Paul writes to the Ephesians that his prayer was for them to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge (Eph 3:17-19). There is a difference between having an understanding that God is good and experiencing His goodness in present reality. Hosea writes about this experiential knowledge saying, “Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established in the morning; He will come to us like rain, like the latter and the former rain to the earth (Hosea 6:3).” This experiential knowledge was to encounter God not just have an understanding about an attribute of God. In this verse Hosea is describing the presence of the Lord like the rain. He comes to us like the refreshing and soaking rains. He revives us in His presence and brings healing through His living streams of water.
- We follow hard after God to demonstrate justification
We have been justified by faith and the evidence of this saving faith is an ongoing pursuit of Christ above all others. We are justified by faith, and it is demonstrated by our pursuit. Good works cannot produce faith, much like a seed cannot produce fruit without water and sun. Once the sun and water affect the seed, fruit is on its way.
Saving grace produces a desire for the pursuit of heavenly things. The work of God in the believer begins a desire for the Word of God and His presence. So often we misdirect our passion and try to pacify eternal longings with temporal fixes. The pursuit of God is the expression of the desire for God awakened by faith.
Philippians 3:9, The Passion Translation
9 My passion is to be consumed with him and not clinging to my own “righteousness” based in keeping the written Law. My “righteousness” will be his, based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ—the very righteousness that comes from God.
- We follow hard after God to experience His resurrection life
We are yet perfected. The precious work of grace has begun, but is yet to be perfected. Daily I need to drink of His resurrection streams. Daily I need to experience His love. Daily I need to hear His voice. Pursuit of God is laying aside any weight or distraction to know Him and His resurrection.
Philippians 3:12, The Passion Translation
12 I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover.
Paul writes, “I admit that I haven’t yet acquired…” I haven’t arrived. There is still more to know and enjoy and delight in and be changed by. Resurrection life takes off the grave clothes, leaves the cemetery of despair, and walks in newness of life.
- We follow hard after God because He has made us His own
Christ Jesus has laid His hand upon you. He has made you His own. What a humbling honor that the creator has taken us out of the pit of this world, clothed us in His righteousness, and has laid His hand of anointing and calling upon us. He has made us kings and priests. He has set us apart for His plans and purposes. In the pursuit of God we discover more of who He has made us to be and more of how He has called us to live.
Philippians 3:12-13, The Passion Translation
12 I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. 13 I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this;[a] however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.
What delight in God do you still have to experience? What joy still remains for you? What promise has yet to be obtained? Pursue hard after God and find Him to be all you ever need. The pursuit will not end in broken promises and will not leave you wanting. Embarking the pursuit of God will satisfy every longing and desire. The pursuit of Him was what you were made for!