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What Are You Leading People to Expect from Jesus?

God may not be interested in satisfying every one of our desires.

Christian teacher Joyce Meyer promises big emotional benefits from obedience: “I encourage you to let God shape you into someone who loves and actually longs for His correction. Because by bending to His will, we can become healed and whole, satisfied and happy.” While obedience has its rewards, it may not deliver on this promise. As illustrated in the lives of those who knew and loved Jesus at his birth and his death, sometimes obedience makes a person miserable, leads to suffering, or even death. A relationship with God can bring comfort and peace, but it will not bring complete and lasting satisfaction—or happiness—in this life.

In Lysa TerKeurst’s book Made to Crave, she features a strong promise in its subtitle: “Satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food.” Within the book’s pages she declares, “Jesus wants us to know only He can fill us and truly satisfy us. He really wants us to know that. Only by being filled with authentic soul food from Jesus—following Him and telling others about Him—will our souls ever be truly satisfied.” Like other books drawing people away from trying to satisfy themselves through the world’s offerings, this one points us in the right direction, but makes the mistake of simply redirecting our desire for satisfaction rather than questioning its legitimacy as a goal for our lives.

Unsatisfied—for Now

What if God is not interested in making our lives comfortable or in satisfying all our emotional needs, like the latest all-purpose product to hit the shelves promises? Scripture makes clear he wants to transform us in a mercifully slow process that—some might be disappointed to learn—does not forge a quick and easy shortcut past our needs for healing and growth or the consequences of human choices. It does not eradicate the effects of sin in our lives, nor does it take away all our longings. It does not completely close the gap between God and us. In fact, as we know Christ more deeply, we often feel recurring sorrow over our sin—and a new kind of longing that grows with exposure to his love, wisdom, and grace.

February13, 2018 at 10:44 AM

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