Remember that book I was talking about a couple of posts ago??? A Quest For More by Paul David Tripp. Have you bought it yet? Do.
Anyway, as I was reading it the other day, I stumbled across one of the most powerful things I think I've read in a long time. In his book, Tripp writes....
Where does one find ultimate fulfillment, satisfaction, and contentment? In God and God alone. Living for God is indeed fulfilling, but we don't find him fulfilling because we are too busy being satisfied with the temporary pleasures of the physical world. Before we ever come to God we have already decided the things that we want in order to be fulfilled. We tend to seek God so that he will deliver some kind of physical, relational, or circumstantial fulfillment. Rather than working to satisfy us with these, God wants us to experience hunger so deep that it drives us to forsake these things and finally find our satisfaction in him.
....Because the things of the physical earth will never truly satisfy me, they tend to leave me fat, unhealthy, and addicted; bitter, hurt, and disappointed; angry, demanding, and controlling. Being ruled by the desire for little kingdom pleasures harms both body and soul.
...Ungodliness runs much, much deeper than a failure to keep a list of rules. Ungodliness is about my life being so dominated by desire for present pleasures that my heart will never stay inside of God's boundaries. Searching for satisfaction in what I can see, touch, taste, hear, or hold in my hands will always lead me to commit an endless list of sins of heart and behavior.
Wow!!! The reason this spoke so much to me, is that I do this..... "Before we ever come to God we have already decided the things that we want in order to be fulfilled." I think I know what I need or want for my life to go as planned. And I'm right, if my life would actually go as I've planned it. However, 99.9% of the time, the way I have it planned is not at all what God has in store for me. So I press on wondering how I find what He wants for me. I suppose it partly begins with setting aside what I want. Here are some examples from my life.
In our calling to adopt a child, I pursue a business to make us lots of money to provide for our family. Aaron becomes a famous musician while we travel the world in our tour bus homeschooling our children (with a nanny in tow), yet are able to remain committed to our church family and be home most Sundays still to lead them in worship. All the meanwhile, we are leading people to the Lord through our different areas of work and life. We are able to keep our current house as a rental property to one day sell to pay for our kids education. I then get to purchase an old home full of character and stainless steal appliances and a garden that I will of course learn how to make beautiful. We continue leading small groups of people, both together and apart. Our children are thriving, obedient, and walking with the Lord from early on in life. They will fully understand the Trinity and Salvation by the age of 10. I will have patience and joy and enough time in my days to keep a perfectly clean home, play with my kids, read all the books I have sitting on my bookshelf, minister to younger women, sing with Aaron both on the road and at church, oh ... and still rise to the top of my business.
Why not God??? What's wrong with all of that? It is all for your glory that we pursue these things. Ummmmmm ..... God has a different story already written, that is what's wrong. And while some of these things may or may not come to be over the course of our lives, currently He seems to be revealing something drastically different for us. I'm not rising to the top of my business, instead He's asked me to be content with the little extra our family needs. (Which still leaves us with more than 80% of the world.) As for the expense of adoption, again it isn't my business like I thought to provide - it is the body of Christ. God decided that we were to take the route of involving others in Orphan Care through our choice. (We HATE asking for money. But who doesn't really?) Instead of renting out my house and buying that cute little old house, we have our house on the market to move into who knows what - but I know it won't be that tour bus. My children often misbehave. And while they know they are loved by us, and by Jesus - they too are still little sinners (but cute ones) that are not working through end times, but rather what it means to repent (which Sam thinks involves turning and walking away from the table). Most days the patience, joy, and time that I have don't feel enough to me. My house is ONLY clean because it is for sale. It will cease to be so once that changes. The unread books remain on the shelf. And I feel disconnected from young women (and most people really) because I don't know how to find the time to purse anyone or anything other than my sanity.
Well God ... thanks for this journey of teaching me that true satisfaction that comes from the depths of my soul will look very different than the comfortable world I've concocted. You will in deed ask me to surrender, and groan, and wait. And it will be in the path you offer where this "more" I'm searching for will be found. For this, I praise you. As Aaron voiced in his song "Less of me....and more of you". (Anyone want to cut us a record deal?)
What's your story look like??? How's that working out for you???