Satisfaction in Christ

Our world is a battlefield. A war, fierce and tactical, rages around us at all times. It is not, however, a fight for land or political power, but one for our souls. The Devil operates with an intense yearning for our hearts, attempting to ensnare us through cunningly disguised temptations. It is Satan’s greatest desire for us to reject our loving Lord and choose him and his deceptions. This battle is waged in many areas of our life, but especially in where we look for our satisfaction.

We tend to fix our eyes horizontally, examining only the world around us in a desperate search for satisfaction. It might not even be a conscious, intentional action, but it is perhaps still there. Maybe it’s our social life. We are confident in the lie that we tell ourselves day after day that if I was just a little bit more popular, or if I fit into that friend group, then life would be good. Maybe we seek fulfillment academically. If I am just able to get a high grade on that exam, or be accepted into my first choice college, then I will be happy. Maybe we look to the amount of likes on a picture we posted, a number on the scale, finding a spouse, or the sum of money in our bank account to receive fulfillment. The list goes on and on. 

Of course, some of these desires are not necessarily incorrect in and of themselves. It is, however, wrong to place our trust fully, or even partially, in them.  Seeking God, plus something on the side (you fill in the blank) to reach satisfaction is never right. Not only is it sinful, but it will not provide the true and lasting satisfaction for which we ache.

The reason that we find no fulfillment in any of those “ideals,” is that they were simply not made to satisfy us. We live in an imperfect, fallen, and broken world. It is illogical even to expect that an imperfect person or a temporary object could bring lasting and perfect joy. The fulfillment for which we so urgently seek is found solely in Christ, the eternal fountain of joy and peace. He is lasting. He is perfect. He is our complete satisfaction! 

In living out this truth, the believer discovers tremendous freedom. No longer do circumstances control our joy—Christ is our joy! Our happiness doesn’t come from a career, or friends, or anything else. I find my delight in my wonderful Heavenly Father, who loves me in all eternity. The words of Psalm 16: 8, 9, and 11 ring beautifully true.  “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope… Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” 

“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope…Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” 

Psalm 16:8-9,11

Leah Decker

Everlasting Love

I have this picture in my house; it was given to me by my mom because it is a painting of horses with Jeremiah 31:3 written on it: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” It is a beautiful picture with a beautiful verse, and it has provoked a lot of thought over the last few years that I’ve been looking at it. I’ll tell you why.

Working with horses over the years, I’ve learned to accurately read their body language. One of the horses in the picture is displaying interest, attention, and care toward the other horse. His ears are up; head held high, eyes are bright! Everlasting love, right? Just like the verse written below it says!

The other horse in the picture, however, isn’t quite on the same page. He is quartered away from his companion. His ears are pinned back, head lowered and eyes diverted. He is displaying annoyance, anger, and maybe even disgust. This is why I’ve spent so much time staring at this picture over the years. Why put a verse about the everlasting love of God below a painting that seems contradictory to that verse?

At first, I thought maybe the artist was just naïve, and probably didn’t know a thing about horses, putting a verse like that on such a picture. I don’t know the author, but the more time I spend looking at the picture, the more I think the artist knew what she was doing. After all, with some contemplation, the verse makes perfect sense in that context!

Everlasting love is an easy concept when we think of loving our friends, or when we think of God loving us while we sing in church, pray, or study His word. Even though we know our sin, that everlasting love is warm and fuzzy, and easy to see, but what about when we pin our ears? The moments (and they are constant) that we turn away from God, show Him annoyance, anger and even disgust at His will for us are the moments where the everlasting love of God is most amazing. Realistically, each moment of our lives is a “pin our ears” moment, whether we realize it or not.

So, what if this artist knew what she was doing? Maybe this picture is more than a pretty painting and a beautiful verse. Maybe the artist is saying something about this everlasting love. Even when we don’t show love to our God, even though we quarter away and pin our ears, His everlasting love holds us. He doesn’t stop and leave us alone in our misery. He continues to love us because that love is everlasting!

Let’s spend each day not only trying to reciprocate that love, but thankful for each moment that we reject and try to run from God that He draws us in with lovingkindness time and time again. No matter how many times we pin our ears and turn our heads, His love is unconditional and everlasting, and gently leads us back to Him. Recognize the moments in life that you pin your ears at God, or at friends and loved ones, and apologize to them and to God for those moments of annoyance, anger and disgust. Pray that He will show you also to love with everlasting love!

Suzie Altena

If you’d like to view the painting in reference by Jennifer Pugh, please click here.

Worthy (2): Knowledge

In closing my last article, I spoke of how, although we know so much about God, there is still so much more for us to learn. As we gain knowledge, we not only learn how to better give God what He is worthy of, but also our knowledge of Him is something He deserves. It is important that we distinguish what kind of knowledge to gain. “All heathen wisdom is but folly. Of all knowledge, the knowledge of God is the principal. There is no true knowledge without godliness” (Bridges). It is not heathen wisdom, such as the knowledge of things here below, but true knowledge of God that is important. God is worthy of knowledge first, so that we may better praise Him, second, so we may reverently and affectionately obey His law, and third, so we can better love Him.

As mentioned in the previous article, our praise comes from an acknowledgment of what God has done for us. To be able to render any kind of praise to God we must have true knowledge of Him. When we consider that God is worthy, which the Bible says many times, (II Samuel 22:4, Psalm 18:3, Rev. 4:11, 5:9, 12) we consider the weight of God. God is worthy. God is worthy of so much above and beyond what we can ever render to Him. Yet, as children of God we have the desire to bring our best fruits and our best sacrifices before God as did the children of Abraham. It is only natural then that we yearn to know God better and to understand all that Christ has suffered for us. The more we learn of Christ’s death and God’s forgiveness of us, the more we realize we are undeserving and God is so merciful. As we realize this more and more we can better praise God for His work.

In Proverbs 1:7, we read of knowledge and its connection to our obedience of God’s law. We read that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The fear of the Lord is “the affectionate reverence by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law” (Bridges).  Knowledge comes from and is obedience to God’s decree of His command. We must know God’s command and then we will have a mind that is obedient to Him.

To truly know God is to love Him. John points out the importance of knowing God in I John 4:7-8. John says that one who loves God will inevitably have knowledge of God and if one does not love God then he surely will not have any knowledge of God. We need knowledge to love God. That is why God gives us His perfect book, and reveals Himself to us with all the creation around us. We must know God is God, the God of infinite perfections, to love Him. It is important we do not make up a God, but we must know the One true God for who He is. When we truly know who God is we will be overflowing with love towards Him. We will be as the lame beggar who began walking and leaping and praising God when He first learned the name of Christ.

God is worthy that we must render so much unto Him. We know He is worthy of our gratitude, knowledge, praise, obedience, love and yet so much more than that too. Most importantly we must walk in a life of gratitude towards God which walk will be filled with learning about God and much more. How great a joy and blessing that God has shared His name with us so we may know Him!

Luke Christian Potjer

Bridges, Charles. “Proverbs”. pp. 3-4. 1846, First Banner of Truth Trust edition.