Monday, March 26, 2012

what truly satisfies

Over the last few months I've come to a deeper understanding of my relationship with the Lord.  This is not to say that I've in any way "arrived", in fact, with this understanding comes a renewed urgency to know Him more.  Nonetheless, it is an amazing feeling to realize that when God says's He is enough, He is.  I don't say this to be flippant or to in any way simplify this notion, but to enhance it by stating it plainly. 

In relation to this, we are studying through Psalm 119 in our women's group at church (The Aletheia as I've mentioned before).  I have been so encouraged by breaking this large Psalm down into manageable chunks and really trying to dive into what the Psalmist is saying.  Over and over again it is repeated that the word of God & His commandments are what establishes us, what we give thanks for, how we remain pure, what we praise Him for, what comforts us...and the list goes on.  I have never before been so challenged to ask myself what the word means to me and if I'm desiring it like I should. 

I've also recognized the longing the psalmist has for the Lord.  Just a few phrases from the beginning section of Psalm 119 (emphases mine):

v2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart
v10 With all my heart I have sought You
v20 My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times
v31 I cling to Your testimonies
v40 Behold I long for Your precepts
v45b For I seek Your precepts
v48 I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love and I will meditate on Your statues
v57 The Lord is my portion
v58 I have sought Your favor with all my heart

In my mind, I picture the psalmist on his knees in utter disbelief that God is his portion and strength.  The words he uses are not fluffy, soft words but intense, deliberate words like all, sought, crushed, longing, cling, seek, and love.  There is so much passion and emotion and clear thought wrapped up in these words and phrases bringing me to a clearer understating of what it means to truly desire God.

In every day life we are faced with countless distractions.  With magazines and adds that show 'perfect' people and bodies, with endless things to desire and lust after either owned by our neighbors or displayed in store windows, and with television and movies that allow us to escape our own (sometimes bleak) reality.  We are constantly hit by a barrage of stuff that is supposed to make us happy but in the end will let us down.  We'll get old and, no matter the amount of botox we use, we'll still have wrinkles.  No matter the quantity or price of stuff we buy, it will never last forever and will always need to be replaced by the "next greatest thing".  Our lives will continue on and we wont be able to escape the reality of death.

Compare this reality with that of the psalmist and you see a stark contrast.  Desiring stuff versus desiring the Lord.  For me, it's recognizing that the desire of the psalmist is the only desire that can be truly fulfilled.  "I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:4) and "...Seek, and you will find...for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds..." (Matthew 7:7).  God promises to answer us and deliver us when we seek Him.  God is there to be found.  These are just a few of the promises He makes to us! Can a magazine give you that?  Can a movie truly change your life?  Can stuff really fulfill a lonely heart?

The best part is found in Romans 6:8-11...
"Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him...Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus".  God promises us life. True life!  Not just someone elses life or someone elses stuff, but our very own, personal relationship with the creator of the universe.  He hands that to us free of charge.  A gift.  The best gift. 

I know it's easy to get caught up in the things of this life but we must remember that they are hazards to us.  They sneak in and shift our focus from what truly satisfies to a momentary fix that, once it's gone, will leave you wanting more.  I know that, for myself, the only thing I want established in front of me is the Lord and His precepts and I know that that will satisfy me completely.  Nothing I could purchase or even make myself become would come close.  It's amazing the complete satisfaction and confidence that can be found in our relationship with the Creator.

Who or what is satisfying you?

How can a young man keep his way pure?  By keeping it according to Your word.
Psalm 119:9