Shared June 1st, 2014
Last Sunday, we talked about satisfaction. We asked some questions, which are in the form of the following outline:
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH (YOUR) LIFE?
IS MANKIND SATISFIED WITH LIFE?
- Adam and Eve
- Judas Iscariot
- Death, the eyes of man and destruction
ARE YOU STAISFIED WITH GOD?
- Being satisfied with God is, should be our duty!
- Being satisfied with God is not a suggestion but a command
- Being satisfied with God Demonstrates Our Blessings (Ephesians 1:3)
This morning, we will resume with this question:
Which of these words would you choose to describe your current spiritual walk as a Christian?
Defeated? Discouraged? Disappointed? Empty? Excited? Frustrated? Fulfilled? Growing? Joyful? Mediocre? Painful? Stuck? Struggling? So-so/Up and down? Any others? As we said last week, we are so caught up in the temporal blessings when we should rather be focusing on what is not seen. Let’s look at Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: the apostle Paul begins with blessings and three times in one verse he uses the same word. When we look closely, we see the following:
1. THE TEMPORAL BLESSINGS – this is what many preachers focus on
2. THE SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS – this is what we need to focus on
3. THE ETERNAL BLESSINGS – this is the ultimate that we must focus on
1. THE TEMPORAL BLESSINGS are what many preachers focus on, clothes, food, cars, spouse, children, etc. and yes for some of these things, we need them to survive; but we also need to thank God for our homes and everything that He provided for us. God does meet our need. But these shouldn’t be the measure of our satisfaction in God. Look at what Jesus says about this kind of blessing: 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you, Matthew 6:32-33. Based on Jesus’ words, we can say or deduce that lack of contentment is sin. Moreover, it puts the unsatisfied believer in the same category as pagans, those who do not know God.
2. THE SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS are what we need to focus on. What does that mean? It refers to our salvation, our standing in Christ, and our eternal security. It refers to His grace over us, the Holy Spirit residing in us and also the fact that we have access to Him, Hebrews 4:16; we have the ability to talk to Him anytime. InMatthew 6:33, Jesus expressed and stressed priorities. First, spiritual matters must take priority and precedence over material things. True happiness is predicated on placing value on right priority. You cannot be truly happy until you learn to count the true value of things and put first things first.
3. THE ETERNAL BLESSINGS are the ultimate that we must focus on. Our salvation leads to an eternal residence in Heaven where God shall wipe away all tears. Our salvation leads to happiness, joy, and to an inheritance. The Bible says we were created for far better things than this world has to offer:
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22-23).
Let us also look at 2 Corinthians 5:2-6. All these verses show where our focus should be. The Lord’s “loving-kindness is better than life” (Psalm 63:3) and if it is better than life, then it is better than all that life in this world offers. This means that what satisfies is not the gifts of God but giving the glory to God: the glory of His love, the glory of His power, the glory of His wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
Here are some saints that are satisfied with God:
Asaph – The psalmist Asaph cried out, 25“Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. 26My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:25-26). Nothing on earth, none of God’s good gifts of creation, could satisfy Asaph’s heart. So then who or what could? You know the answer. Only God could. This is what David meant when he said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing” (Psalm 16:2). Clearly, wealth and prosperity do not satisfy; only God does.
I’m not saying we should be presumptuous by not thanking Him for His gifts. No. We ought to thank Him for the temporal blessings. Look at what Psalm 103:2, says: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” And what? “Forget not all His benefits”. So we do obtain joy and contentment “from all His benefits”. But it would be foolish of us to label the gladness we get from His benefits as love for God. No, it is love for what we get from Him. Many only love what they get from Him. When they don’t, they complain and complain and then finally, blame God.
David – When David said to the Lord, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11), he meant that closeness, being near to God Himself is the only all-satisfying experience one can find in the entire universe. Think about it and you will agree. That is why I keep saying make time to pray and praise. The more we pray and praise, the closer He is to us. Praying and praising brings us closer to God. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, James 4:8. Look at David when he said, “As the deer panteth for the water so my soul longeth after you” (Psalm 42:1); he was not yearning for God’s gifts. He knew that only God can and will satisfy his heart and that should be the same for us.
Paul – The apostle Paul suffered a lot, going without the basics of, neither the comforts of life more than most people could ever imagine. Yet he knew the secret of contentment; look at what he said in Philippians 4:12-13, 12I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. A dictionary definition of contentment is “the state of being mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.”
This is the essence of what it means to be satisfied with God
Being satisfied in God includes loving Him.
Being satisfied with God includes obeying all His commands
Being satisfied with God includes believing all His Word
Being satisfied with God includes thanking Him for all His gifts
That is why Job said “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will defend my own ways before him” (Job 13:15). But the essence of being satisfied God is enjoying all He is. And it is this enjoyment of God that satisfies us and which glorifies Him. After all, we have to remember these facts, that: God has given us salvation, forgiveness, love, and the promise of heaven/paradise. In Philippians 4:11 Paul says, I have learnt in whatever state I am, to be content. When we are truly satisfied with and in God, He is truly glorified in us. It’s natural to feel unhappy from time to time. It reminds us that nothing material in this world can satisfy us. None of us has arrived at perfect satisfaction in God.
Given this fact, then as believers, we can and must allow our desires and longings to draw us closer to God; the closer we are drawn to God, the further away from the flesh we will be. The closer we are to God, the more of His glory we will see. The Psalmist says, O taste and see that the Lord is good, Psalm 34:8. The Psalmist also says: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).
As we end, let us consider these. How happy are you as a Christian, when it appears to you that the Lord is not answering your prayers? How happy is the Christian in this world! Where is your focus? There is something about the word “context” and when we put things in context, we begin to appreciate the Lord that we serve. What do I mean? Look at the unsaved. The unbelievers, the unsaved have no hope whatsoever in this world. And to such who have no clue who God is and therefore know nothing about Christ and His offer of salvation, any bad thing that happens do not have any reason or any ultimate purpose.
But, not so for you! Not so for me. Not so for those who know the Lord and have surrendered their entire lives to Him, like Job or Paul or the disciples who laid down their lives for the propagation of the gospel. As believers, we know that we have an anchor, steadfast and sure while the billows roll and toss all around us. And so as we navigate the tempestuous seas of persecution, abandonment, attacks, we do so knowing that the Almighty, the El Roi, the Almighty Himself is the pilot and He is always at the helm even though we may think He’s fallen asleep in the boat. And we have a precedent in the Bible so even when the waves rise all around us and threaten to cast us into the deep, we do not have and we are not consumed by fear. And the fact is, though we do not have an inkling neither do we know what will happen in the short run, we are very certain that in the long run God’s plan for ours life will be worked out perfectly. After all, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day to Him. Beloved, that is why I am at peace; I am at peace in Him. And the result is what? I am satisfied in Him and this satisfaction brings out the perfect peace that passes all understanding; it is this peace that washes all over by soul.
A few weeks ago, we looked at Romans 8:28 and so let me end with that. I know that I said I’m ending my sermon and this indeed is the end of the end; Romans 8:28. I am not going to preach on it but you and I, all true Christians firmly believe that Romans 8:28 is true in every circumstance: whether we are up or down, ahead or behind, above or beneath. We believe that all things work together for our good and for God’s glory because God has said it is so. That is why we walk by faith, not by sight. We are very satisfied, we should be satisfied with God and we must firmly believe that someday we will see all the links in the chain of circumstances that led us from earth to heaven. Are you satisfied with, and in the Lord? I am and I encourage us all to commit ourselves entirely to God, and be satisfied with His ways and with His dealings toward us. Amen.
Shall we pray.