What Are You Seeking?

I follow a Bible reading plan every year, and the plan I’m following this year begins with John’s Gospel. I’ve always thought it was much more than a coincidence that the first words spoken by Jesus (in John’s Gospel) come in the form of a very profound question; it’s a question that everyone should know the answer to:

“What are you seeking? (John 1:38)

When I read that question on January 1st, I paused to think about what I should be seeking this year. I believe that our New Year’s Resolutions, or lack of, tell a lot about what we’re seeking. The following is a list of the top ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. Other than showing that we smoke too much, spend too much, sit too much and eat too much, what does this list tell us about the American people?

  1. Lose weight.
  2. Improve finances.
  3. Exercise more.
  4. Get a new/better job.
  5. Eat healthier.
  6. Manage stress better.
  7. Quit smoking.
  8. Improve a relationship.
  9. Quit procrastinating.
  10. Set aside time for yourself.

Besides being obsessed with our bodies and being guilt-ridden over repeatedly doing the things we don’t like, it seems to me that we’re focused on treating symptoms instead of the disease. I think all of these resolutions are good, but notice that none of the top 10 resolutions are in any way spiritual. Maybe that’s why only around ten percent of those that make resolutions succeed in keeping them. And of that ten percent that succeeds at conquering a habit or addiction, a large percentage of those will simply replace that habit or addiction with an equally destructive behavior. It seems that we’re trying, and mostly failing, to fight the flesh with the flesh.

Jesus and the Apostles tell us that we should be seeking the things whichpeace quote lead to peace. Not “world peace,” but our inner-peace. I’m not a psychiatrist or an addiction counselor, but it seems to me that a lack of inner-peace is at least partially, if not mostly, to blame for the majority of our bad habits, addictions, bad attitudes and other negative behaviors.

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…” “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” (Romans 8:6 & 14:19)

I haven’t yet perfected this inner-peace thing, but I’ve come a long way over the last ten or fifteen years. I’ve discovered that seeking peace through doing things like reading the Bible, prayer, listening to sermons and having like-minded friends, including blog friends, will greatly increase our sense of peace. If our primary focus is on seeking peace—the Prince of peace, we make Christ our partner in overcoming addictions and bad habits and bad attitudes.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Even if you’ve already broken your resolutions, reset your priorities and start over again. Make seeking peace your number one goal and it will increase your joy and hope and give you the strength to conquer your “demons.”

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

About Bill Sweeney

In 1996, Bill was diagnosed with ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) and the doctors told him he had 3-5 years to live. He is now completely paralyzed and unable to speak, but by God’s grace, he’s still alive and through his blog shares a message of hope in Christ - Unshakable Hope!

Posted on January 14, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 113 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on studiotj and commented:
    I saw this post and immediately wanted to share it. it includes one of my favorite bible verses: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)”. I hope you will take the time to read it and allow it to marinate in your spirit. Have a peaceful day!

  2. Hey Bill,
    I just wanted to stop by and let you know that you are in my continued prayers. I have not been posting here much recently… trying to work on my book…. but always thinking of you all… Your posts are always better than church for me!
    God bless YOU!

  3. “It seems that we’re trying, and mostly failing, to fight the flesh with the flesh.” … something I needed to hear today, Bill!

  4. You make some very good points! Bless you.

  5. Your list was such a reflection of the barrenness of our material obsessed society today. So sad that so many are missing out on that inner peace which is theirs to be grasped.
    Thank you for reminding me of the gift of inner peace that Jesus gave to me last year, this year and forever more.
    God Bless You 🙂

  6. Lots of people are even looking for what they do know what, and put most of their hopes onto material things are in people from this world.

    Not only Americans are generally more concerned with their bodies than seeking after God. In all the industrialised countries people are more concerned how they look like and about what others would think about them. That last part also hinders them to talk about their faith or to discuss what they believe. How many who call themselves Christian dare to talk in public about their faith? How many of them are really reading regularly the teachings of whose name they bear? Are they seeking to know the teachings of Jesus Christ? Are they seeking to follow Jesus and willing to do not their will but the will of the Father of Christ who is also their Father?

    Jesus, the son of God, the son of man, the son of Abraham, never wanted to be worshipped and never wanted to be his will. He only wanted to do the Will of his Father and wanted the people around him also to look, not for him, but for the only One and True God, Jehovah. It is Him we should seek in the first instance and Jesus is the one who can help us to find Him. But than we should also listen to him and be willing to find his heavenly Father.

    Obsession with self, obsession with entertainment and self-satisfaction has to be done with. To be able to find we do have to look sincerely and to do that we also have to get rid of all dogmatic teachings and to be prepared to listen to the Word of God and find it in Scriptures like it is written there black on white not in a confusing languages of dogma’s but in clear language for everybody understandable when they are willing to take those words at hearth, like they are written in the Book of books, the Bible.

    I do agree, it will take courage and demand some time and work, but faith without works is dead. (James 2:26)

  7. #10 is my favorite: Make time for yourself. I find it hardest to do that. I am always doing for others. That’s what mothers and Grandmothers do best. It is important for me as I reach into the fall of my life that I do take more time for myself. Time to think, read, rest and just enjoy what is around me at that particular moment. Not to think about what needs to be accomplished in the next 24 hours. Just the moment right now. I’ll take your advice and take time for me. Thanks.

  8. Hi Bill-
    Hope all is well as can be well.

    ‘Good question at the top, ‘what are you seeking? More importantly, what is my response to that ques. Good stuff.

    As a side note- I have listened to a short song countless times now, and I was wondering if you had the chance to hear it. You know Joni Eareckson Tada, probably. Well, she has never been known to be a singer, but artist and writer, etc.

    Please see the link on my page and follow the instructions; it is important to get the order correct before you listen to the song. First the video by the Academy, then read the entire article then listen to the song.

    The thought occurred to me that she has long been making music with her life before she even sang a note. Tell me if this finds a good place in you.

    I would like to hear your thoughts,

  9. Great post Bill !! I re-posted it today in hope of encouraging others to feed on the Word (Matthew 4:4), instead of those goodies !!

    Blessings in Christ, bruce

  10. I love when you say, “it seems to me that we’re focused on treating symptoms instead of the disease. I think all of these resolutions are good, but notice that none of the top 10 resolutions are in any way spiritual.” because it ring home, and tells me to get spiritual with my resolutions if I want to see them through 🙂

  11. Right on. Loved this right here:
    “Even if you’ve already broken your resolutions, reset your priorities and start over again.”

  12. I appreciate your insightful assessment of the Standard American Resolutions, Bill.

  13. “What are you seeking?” Peace… That is what we need–I know I do. Blessings! – A 🙂

  14. Thanks for this, this year I am believing God to teach and enable me pray more.
    Then the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will fill me up in all aspect of my life. Amen.

  15. Truly enjoyed this post about seeking peace. A great message. Thank you for sharing this. Because of Christ, Teresa

  16. Go For It Goals 2014

    Thoughts added with feelings and emotions with God, plus action equals your plans coming true!

     Faith
    -I Will:

    -I Will:

     Career
    -I Will:

    -I Will:

     Financial

    -I Will:

    -I Will:

     Recreation Free Time
    -I Will:

    -I Will:

     Physical Fitness & Health

    -I Will:

    -I Will:

    Just an idea to keep your goals on track!

  17. The Bible is unsurpassed in its ability to find the pulse of humanity and your post on inner peace, finding those perfect complimentary verses, are just what I, and most of us, struggle with on a daily basis. I am putting “what do you need” in my Bible to remind me to pray daily for just what I need along with inner peace.

  18. When I am at peace while deep in prayer, it seems that the only thing I truly desire is that connection with Jesus Christ. Awesome post and I feel I better understand it now! It helped me realize that when we aren’t at peace and feeling uptight, agitated or frustrated we are separated from Jesus (the root of our problem).

    To seek Jesus and find His peace is where we can break free. Great Post! Thanks

  19. I’ve learned I can’t do anything on my own strength. Especially anything of eternal value. Wish this post appeared next to that article rather than preaching to the choir. Great reminder of what’s important.

  20. Bill, this is a wonderful reminder of where true lasting peace is found; “not as the world gives.”

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  21. Love it my brother!

  22. Beautiful and very timely post Bill as we start another new year. Without the Lord’s peace, where would we be? Blessings to you my friend.

  23. You know what helpd me realize my inner peace during all the daily craziness around me? My amazing brother. Love you!

  24. Hello, Yours is one of 3 messages I’ve recently received about finding rest and peace for 2014. God has also spoken to me strongly about “Be still, and know that I am God.”

    You have given a clear message. Let’s keep helping people not fight flesh with flesh, but by the Spirit.

    Thanks, Unshakable.



    http://www.livingwatermuscatine.com Ripples with Life!

    Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2014 14:50:07 +0000 To: bmarkanderson@hotmail.com

  25. Hey Bill, great to see you firm, strong and unshaken in your faith. This question “What are you seeking?” has been at the back of my mind for a while and I have been trying to ignore it. You have just reminded me it is time to deal with it. Thank you.

    Bless you!

    • Thank you, Stephen. That simple question has been echoing in my mind for years; it helps to keep me on course.
      BTW, I like what you wrote about peace in your last post: “Peace – We do not seek peace as defined by the absence of trouble in our lives, but from the knowledge of knowing that we can bring our worries and requests to God and exchange them for the peace that is beyond our understanding (Philippians 4:7). It is a sense of calmness knowing that God has our back and our front.” (Isaiah 52:12)

  26. What truth! Perhaps we need to ask ourselves that question every day when we wake, “What am I seeking?” As always, an encouraging post! Thank you!

  27. Amen brother! I didn’t really set a New Years resolution but seeking peace sounds like a great one. 🙂

  28. Joy and peace are what I seek for 2014 and the miracle of reconciliation of our family… Diane

  29. Great post my friend. I hope you are doing well.

  30. You nailed it! “Fighting flesh with flesh” — a no winner. Americans are generally more concerned with their bodies than seeking after God. The only way to conquer addictions and find inner peace is to love and seek God above everything. You just gave me my New Year’s resolution. Thank you!

    • You are so right, Sheryl – “Seek FIRST the Kingdom…” Sadly most of us, me included, have to hit bottom before we figure out that fighting the flesh with the flesh is futile – like a dog chasing his tail:-)

  31. Another thoughtful post, Bill. I particularly like the way you put Romans 8:6 and 14:19 together, supporting your premise with clear-cut scripture. Thank you for continuing to write. Your posts are always worth pondering!

  32. Thank you. Your words have reminded me that seeking to live as a Christian is much more important than saying I am one.

  33. As we have lost sight of our accountability before God (as evidenced by the New Years Resolutions) we no longer recognize the cords of sin (fear, jealousy, anger, prejudice, hatred, impatience, selfishness, greed and lust) that are squeezing our culture to a tragic end. It would all seem hopeless were it not for Christ . . . . Let us resolve to continue into the new year reflecting His wisdom, love and mercy to a hurting world– in His strength and to His Glory!

  34. “What are you seeking?” What an excellent observation!

  35. Reblogged this on Moonlight Reflections and commented:
    I sure needed to read this today! A great post and very inspirational.

  36. Beautiful blog. Reading it gave me inner peace.

  37. Vey good posting sir, very well spoken and encouraging words. God Bless You

  38. What great insight, Bill!
    Our pastor said recently about David’s lack of fear “He focused more on God and less on Goliath” I think that resonates with your message here.

  39. Reblogged this on Focused and Free and commented:
    Well all suffer from an ism…

    Our spirit is out of line with our Creator. Bill brings this home wonderfully in this article.

  40. Quite an eye opener! We certainly are obsessed with self, (myself included being convicted by that list.) Wow, why isn’t “spending time meditating on God’s Word” or “bringing my brother to Christ” on that list??? Why does God put up with our selfishness? What patience and love He has. Blessings for a thought provoking post!

  41. Another powerful blog post Bill. You always seem to be able to get right to the heart of the matter. I do not think I ever thought of the resolution issue this way before. You are 100% right. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. I hope all is well with you, your family, and your friend Ann. Prayers and Blessings, Leslie

  42. It’s so true this has to be a constant pusuit. It’s hard when your the person everyone is telling all their problems to to maintain that peace. I feel overwhelmed by how bad things are and guilty if I do not feel their pain “enough.” If only I could maintain peace and bring peace to their lives too.

    • Thank you, Nicole. I suspect people open up to you (about their problems) because you do encourage them and bring them a sense of peace. But you can only do so much; only God can give us true and lasting peace.

  43. I think this ties very well with “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and “all” those things will be added unto you”. Focusing on God’s matters, His Christ, the Prince of Peace as you so well reminded us, will results in forgetting a little bit about ourself. And When we do, those “resolutions”, if they are good ones, will be taken care of, one by one, sometimes without us even noticing the change. Thank you for bringing this reminder in such a timely fashion.

    • You are so right; it’s simply a matter of priorities – “Seek FIRST the Kingdom…” I agree with you that if we have our priorities in order, we can succeed at keeping our resolutions without even noticing a change – because the resolutions are not our focus.

  44. Reblogged this on verawrites and commented:
    This wonderful post by Bill at Unshakeable Hope says both things I need to hear and things I believe. Just wanted to share with others…

  45. Needed this today!!! Love it

    Love you daddy

    Sent from my iPhone

  46. 🙂 Love you.

  47. This was another read out loud to ny friends Bill Post! And just Perhaps when I read I will be inspired too!! 🙂

  48. Reblogged this on Elaine's Random Thoughts and commented:
    Great blog post! I recommend reading it and reading about the writer himself as well on his blog Unshakable Hope. He truly is a man with unshakable hope that many of us can only pray to achieve.

  49. Wonderful post with lots of good things to think about! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and God’s word! Reblogging this to share with others!

  50. This hits all the right notes, Bill, thank you. Sometimes when I read a blog I feel like God is talking to me – and this is one of those times. Your comment about ‘treating the symptoms’ and the need to seek ‘inner peace’ particularly resonate. Thank you and bless you for sharing this!

  51. Amen!! Great topic and fantastic verses you mentioned, Bill. Thank you for reminding us to continuously seek the Lord and we will be rewarded with eternal peace.

  52. Thank you for the true and pure words that lead to the Peace of Christ. Love and blessings, Bernadette

  53. Thank you very much for the re-blog!

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