The Rolling Stones were right—about all of us. We really can’t get no satisfaction.
When Keith Richards and Mick Jagger wrote the song that would become their first No. 1 hit in the United States, many in the church were scandalized by the candor in “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Yet the song hinted at a surprisingly biblical theme: The places we often seek satisfaction (notably for The Rolling Stones, sex and consumerism) fail to satisfy.
Imagine a guitar riff behind the expressions of disenchantment in Ecclesiastes, and they sound pretty scandalous too. Nearly all of us are looking for satisfaction in some way. And most of us still have a natural inclination to look in two places: our own appetites and consumerism.
We try to satisfy our appetites for love, power, food and drink, sex and other forms of pleasure, sleep, and more. And when we feel unsatisfied in some way, it’s natural to turn to these appetites and think, “If I just had more. . . .” Consumerism not only feeds on our natural appetites but also warps and inflates them for the sake of profit. A constant stream of enticements creates urgency over things we don’t need. So when we want to feel more satisfied, it’s no surprise we often think like consumers and focus on something to acquire: “If I just had that. . . .”
With either approach, we are doomed to repeat the wretched enlightenment of our predecessors, to discover that our best attempts to satisfy ourselves leave us with a gnawing hunger.
Even though we Christians can be caught up in following our own appetites and the whims of consumerism, most of us accept the idea that they will not lead us to true satisfaction. So we take what seems ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more