Chasing “satisfaction” as a feeling or state of arrival is a frustrating, and often fruitless, endeavor. Nonetheless, I frequently find myself engaging in this chase. How about you?
Whether we realize it or not, we are always transforming, moving, and making decisions as to what we think, who to be, who to help, and where to invest our time, talents, and treasures. Our observable behaviors and decisions are signs of our focus and our priorities. They can also often be signs of what we are chasing to be at peace and fulfilled, or just plain happy.
The “next thing” we are so often chasing to make us feel satisfied or to help us feel happy is not what we think. It is already with us. If we follow Jesus Christ as our Savior as Christians, it is already in us.
It is God with us. Always.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23 NIV)
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
“[Jesus speaking] Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NLT)
The feeling we are chasing is peace that comes from God and His Holy Spirit. That does not mean we should be lazy, as in not doing anything or moving toward something. Experiencing God’s peace means we recognize that God’s thoughts are not the same as our thoughts and that His ways are higher than our ways (see Isaiah 55:8-9). To experience this peace we need to be pursuing God and investing in our relationship with Him. We need to be obeying and focusing “on the things above not on things of the earth” (see Colossians 3:2).
We may not be able to control our circumstances, but we do have control over what we focus on. In short, having the peace and joy of God means we realize and live like we know that...
I think we (me included!) often pray for God to deliver for us or for God to deliver us from something. This is quite audacious and self-centered. We are supposed to be delivering for God and serving God out of a joyful and responding heart.
God delivered for us already—His name is Jesus!
God delivered us from something already—it’s called sin and death.
So, why do so many of us continue to pray for God to deliver something to us or to deliver us from something? Because we are still seeking satisfaction for us. It’s still about “me,” at least sometimes, at least on some level, no matter how I “dress it up.”
I am not indicating that we should never pray these prayers, or any particular prayers, for that matter. After all, the communication and relationship with God is the most important aspect of prayer. I believe God appreciates our prayers—they don’t have to be “right” or said a particular way. However, I do think our prayers can reflect our hearts and thoughts, both good and bad, righteous and sinful. And that is OK.
But we can examine ourselves, our prayers, our purpose, and our lives. We can change the focus of our lives to being about God and His ways.
That is when God will act.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.
The chase for satisfaction and happiness just needs a focus shift:
We need to make it a chase for God’s peace that goes far beyond our human-based happiness.
We need to make it a chase for a close and eternal relationship with God Himself, according to what He wants for us and those around us, not just what we want for ourselves.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
Hear more of Brian's story in his book Changed Through Faith, available now on Audiobook, Paperback, and Kindle at Amazon.com. You can contact him for speaking engagements and more at firstname.lastname@example.org.