Satisfied: Peace, Contentment, Fulfillment
The Christianity that Most Christians have Missed
A Radical Call to Authentic Christianity
Our current economy is fueled by greed, envy, covetousness, lust, dissatisfaction and insecurity (such as fear of being rejected if we don’t have the latest clothes, accessories, beauty products, status symbols, or whatever). We fill with frustration, and the only answer we’ve got is more, more, more. We find ourselves so frantically spinning our wheels on ice that we don’t realize that our only direction is down.
This is so much the disease of our age that if we want solutions we will have to look somewhere other than modern society. We need to discover the power of an ancient secret. The liberating truth we need is in the Bible, of course, and yet we are so infected by the inferior – so frenzied and diseased by the incessant craving for more and more of what never satisfies – that we rarely even see the answer when we stare right at it in the Word of God.
We will start with the glaringly obvious – materialism – but these Scriptures highlight a broader issue: although it is important never to settle for less than God’s best, there are many things that God expects us to learn to be content with.
We rarely recall the context of the famous Scripture, “I can do all things through Christ” (KJV). It refers to being empowered to find contentment in less than ideal circumstances. Don’t just slide your eye over it; read this as if your life depended on it:
Hebrews 10:34 For you . . . joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an enduring one in the heavens. (Emphasis mine.)
Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry
Luke 8:14 That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
Luke 12:15 . . . “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.”
Matthew 5:39-42 But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also. Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
Matthew 6:25,27,31-32,34 Therefore I tell you, don’t be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food, and the body more than clothing? . . . Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? . . . Therefore don’t be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’, ‘What will we drink?’ or, ‘With what will we be clothed?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. . . . Therefore don’t be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day’s own evil is sufficient.
Here’s an inkling that being content with what we have goes way beyond materialism:
“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again” Jesus told the woman who had five husbands and was now living with yet another man (John 4:13-14). The woman at the well was driven by a craving that was clearly not being satisfied. At an exorbitant emotional cost, her restless searching had taken her from man to man to man to man to man to man, with her heart being repeatedly shattered into smaller and smaller pieces.
Sadly, this is disconcertingly close to what most modern Christians, even those with high morals, suffer today. They call it dating and vainly hope the habit they have concreted into their lives will somehow magically disappear after signing a marriage license. The mentally dangerous habit commonly nurtured by modern Christian singles is that of going from heartbreak to heartbreak in a blind search for a drug-like euphoria known as being “in love”. Those who seem to succeed in this quest usually find themselves hooked on romantic highs that scientists insist can only last with one partner for a probable maximum of thirty months (See The Chemical Cocktail of Love). Like the woman at the well, hoping for lasting happiness through romantic highs just keeps its victims aching for more.
Other societies have dealt with matters of the heart quite differently to the mess our society has made of things. I Kissed Dating Goodbye is a Christian book by Joshua Harris that challenges current worldly wisdom on this matter. Never expecting to find women willing to date me, I’ve not read the book but more normal singles might like to check it out.
Just as materialism is not the focus of this webpage, neither is romance and marital fulfillment. We are considering these matters only because they are symptoms that point to the problem – a problem even bigger, and scarier than we dare think.
So, back to the woman who kept finding herself thirsting for more. Jesus claimed to be able to do what years and years of frantic searching and countless men had failed to do – to totally satisfy this desperately needy woman.
I must hit you between the eyes with something so obvious that most of us miss it: Jesus did not offer her a divine matchmaking service. The frightening thing about most Christians is that we hope to use God as our Fairy Godmother who will grant us what we think we need. Don’t ever expect to find the Lord of creation in drag, waving a magic wand. Expect a God-sized solution that is so radically different to what you thought you needed that you probably won’t even recognize it as the answer.
The stupendous intellect of the infinite Lord moves in ways that soar as far beyond the powers of human imagination as the stars are distant from this planet’s dirt. God’s ways are shatteringly different to what any politician or scientist or fashion expert or overpaid entertainer can dream up.
You’ll soon see why I’ve saved the following Scripture until now:
To me, the following is one of the saddest verses in the Bible:
Consider this Scripture:
If a heroin addict should not claim, “My God shall supply all my heroin according to his riches in Christ Jesus,” neither should an addict to worldliness expect God to provide us with what seems to shine with excitement and gleam with the promise of fulfillment but is actually the bait on a deadly trap laid by the sinister spiritual forces that manipulate the world system. God tells us to forsake the things we crave, not because he is a killjoy, but because they kill joy.
Each of us are capable of being so mesmerized by the illusion of worldly happiness that we suppose it must be the way to true happiness and therefore must be of God. So we start building it into our theology and even our salvation message, just as the New Testament warns. 2 Peter 2:1 promises “false teachers will also be among you”. It goes on to say of those who had once “escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord”:
Wrong thinking permeates every part of us, corrupting us far more extensively and profoundly than we would ever have guessed. Worldly thinking hits us all. It is not like a wound that hurts only part of us, it’s like an infection spreading throughout our entire being. Tolerating just one aspect of worldliness – perhaps selfish ambition or pride or lust– and hoping it will not contaminate completely unrelated parts of us, is as dangerous as tolerating cancer in part of our body, hoping it will not spread.
As a consequence, sins are more interconnected than we imagine. For example, when describing the sins of Sodom, Ezekiel didn’t even mention sexuality. Instead, he zeroed in on arrogance, affluence, and selfish disregard for the needy (Ezekiel 16:49). Today’s sexual decadence is but a symptom of a much more extensive moral sickness. It is frighteningly easy for us to point the finger at others when we are as infected by the same basic corruption as those we feel superior to.
Let’s briefly explore an example of this interconnectedness.
Almost all of us have been bitten by the deadly, disease-carrying “bigger, brighter, better” bug. This spiritually crippling disease affects us far more extensively than we realize. Why is it that Christian marriages are falling apart almost as rapidly as non-Christian marriages? Because we think in some areas of life we can get away with ignoring God’s directive to be content with what we have, without it corrupting other areas of life.
We live in a society where anyone who does not keep trading up and up, is seen as a failure. Do you expect people to feel good about themselves if they still have the same car, house, furniture and appliances that they had when they married, twenty years ago? If not, can you really expect those same people to feel good about having the same old spouse they had twenty years ago?
A man is almost considered a loser if he remains faithful to his employer for life (and if he does remain with the one company he is seen as a failure unless he keeps “advancing” to position after position in his career). If this is so, who can expect him to feel good about himself if he keeps the same old wife, year after year after year?
For today’s man to be regarded as a success he is expected to trash last year’s gear and surround himself with things that are sparklingly new, look good and are the latest fad. Just as he “needs” the car that people drool over, he must have the wife that men lust after. The woman on his arm is his latest fashion statement and status symbol. Do you seriously expect him to keep trading up to the latest model in everything except this wife? If he must have the latest model car, his wife must also be the latest model. Unless she is sleek and new and beautiful, his claim to success looks decidedly drab.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase: this also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 6:7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
Jeremiah 2:13 For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the spring of living waters, and cut them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
© 2008, Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.
Bible Versions Used
King James Version
King James Version