The priority of God (Seek ye first the Kingdom of God… Matt. 6:33) Part 2 – Ndukuba
The woman raised the religious issue: “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; … God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”(John 4: 24). Jesus points out that it is possible to worship what you do not know and the place of worship does not matter, as much as Who is worshipped.
Secondly, a relationship with God is very vital in knowing and serving Him because He referred to God as “Father” first before calling Him “God”. Thirdly, this knowledge of God is the experience of His Salvation, which He revealed to His redeemed people the “Jews” and ultimately in Jesus Christ. Fourthly, this knowledge of God is a spiritual experience that impacts life from deceit to truthfulness and sincerity in dealing with God and humanity. True worship and service to God must be by the help of God through the power of life in the Holy Spirit.
Paul the Apostle speaking to the Athenians said “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:22-23). Knowing God and experiencing His salvation is vital in relating to Him. God created us in His image and likeness so that He can relate and communicate with us. Sin destroyed this fellowship with God, but in Christ Jesus, God redeemed us from the curse of sin and death and gave us forgiveness and mercy and eternal life. St Augustine of Hippo said, “God, You created us for Yourself, and our soul is restless until it has found rest in You”. God desires that we shall seek Him and find Him, Know Him and serve Him. Moses warned Israel that, when they disobeyed and rebelled against God, He would cause them to be conquered and scattered among the pagan nations and they would be enticed to worship other gods and deities. “But from there, you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 4:27-29).
The desire of any person who ever walked with God is the hunger to know and experience God continually. This was the cry of Moses: “Now, therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight…. Please, show me Your glory” (Exod. 33:13,18). This hunger and yearning were in Paul the Apostle when he said “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted as loss for Christ…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:7, 10-11). This is not mere head knowledge, but an encounter with Jesus Christ in which we acknowledge our loss in sin and our helpless condition and cry out for God’s mercy. We must be desperate for God and His intervention in our lives, seek and receive what God has done for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We cannot know God and still continue in our old ways bequeathed by old traditions and spiritual powers of this age. In most cases, we seek God for what we can get from Him in times of need and trouble. But God desires that His children seek Him for Who He is to them.
(Culled from the Presidential Address of the Primate, the Most Rev. Henry Chukwudum Ndukuba to the 13th General Synod of the Church of Nigeria by the Ven. Dr Princewill Ireoba)
TO BE CONTINUED
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