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God and March Madness

basketball-coverIt is that time of year. The first day of spring is a few days away. In some areas of the country, daffodils are in bloom and trees are beginning to bud. The snow has melted (except maybe in those lovely piles in parking lots!). In our area, the smell of food being cooked on grills is beginning to waft through the air. Major League baseball teams are in Spring Training. Easter is about 2-1/2 weeks away.

But we are not talking about any of those things. We are talking about the time of year when much of the country is focused on one thing and one thing only. Yes, you guessed it… the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, affectionately know as March Madness. Will the Kentucky Wildcats, the #1 ranked team all season long, cut down the nets or will a Cinderella team run the table and win it all? When will a 16 seed finally beat a number one seed? Many people are spending large blocks of time researching the teams and trying to pick the upsets. Even people who do not follow college basketball are busy filling out their bracket. The sports talk programs break down the tournament with the so-called experts ad nauseam. Advertisers are using “March Madness” themed ads to get us to buy their products and services. If this year is like past years, the tournament is apparently so important that the President will soon reveal his picks on a televised program. March Madness even has its own vocabulary – The Big Dance, Selection Sunday, Bracketology, Bubble Teams, Cinderella Team, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four. Beginning with the 2011 tournament the field of 64 was expanded to 68, with an opening round now called the “First Four” games.

Needless to say, we are obsessed with the basketball tournament. And it is fun to be part of a pool and try to pick the winners. Many people are pouring every ounce of energy into their involvement in March Madness.

Sadly, when it comes to our commitment to following Jesus, that pursuit sometimes pales in comparison to the energy and effort we put forth in trying to fill out our brackets. Pursuing Jesus is not a casual, go through the motions, kind of thing. The Bible makes it clear that pursuing Jesus is an all-in activity. Last Thursday, March 12, we published a post breaking down Psalm 63, a psalm that gives us a picture of this all-in pursuit. If you’ve not read it, we encourage you to read it. (You can find it on both our Facebook page and our website.)

The Bible is full of references to earnestly seeking God. We find these words as the opening verse in Psalm 63, “You God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole body longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 103 begins with these words, “Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” In 1 Chronicles 16:11 we read these words, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” And in that same book, in 22:19, we are told, “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God.”

Not only are we called to earnestly seek after God, Scripture also tells us that if we do so, we will find Him. The number of verses that give us that promise is lengthy, here are just two. In the NASB, Proverbs 8:17 tells us this, “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.” Deuteronomy 4:29 gives us this, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and all your soul.”

Jesus tells us that everything we need in life is given to us if we seek Him first. In Matthew 6:33 Jesus says this, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” We encourage you to always read the verses we mention in context; this verse comes near the end of a longer passage 6:25-34.

So, are you pursuing God with the same passion as you have in completing your March Madness bracket? If you seek after God with an all-in attitude, you will find Him. And that wins every time!

Dave Garrett

3/18/2015

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