Thursday, September 11, 2014

Living Free (Beth Moore): To Find Satisfaction in God

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.” – Isaiah 55:1-2

A Longing for Satisfaction:

The Hebrew word for satisfy is sob’ah meaning “to have enough, be full…sufficiently.” In effect, God is asking us in Isaiah 55:1-2 why we work so hard for things that will never be enough, can never fill you up, and are endlessly insufficient.

Most of us don’t see ourselves as greedy, yet we are caught in a trap of living with “If only…” Deep down we’ve convinced ourselves that life would be better if we had just a little more, so we live discontented- forever craving, grasping, wishing, wanting, and striving for that next thing. This thirst for more is exactly what the Bible describes as greed or covetousness. We falsely believe that possessions, power, or people will make us happy.

TRUTH: More of anything other than God will NEVER fill that longing for fulfillment He has placed within you- It is satisfied in Him alone.

Things were never designed to take God’s place. When When we covet something and make it essential, then beg God to give it to us, we are asking God to replace Himself with something we consider more important. When we do this, God will often allow us to experience firsthand the consequences of substituting anything for Him.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”- Exodus 20:17

We can easily be led into captivity by seeking other answers to needs and desires only God can meet. A crucial part of fleshing out our liberation in Christ means allowing Him to fill our empty places. Satisfaction in Christ CAN be a reality. Salvation secures our lives for all eternity. Soul satisfaction ensures abundant life on earth.

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14 says “Meaningless! Meaningless! Says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

The Hebrew word hevel translated “meaningless” means “something with no substance, worthlessness, vanity, emptiness, futility, idol.” Now think about it. Solomon had everything. He was possibly the most powerful king on earth at the time. He could certainly have anything he wanted, yet he had no satisfaction. He found life to be worthless and futile. We all want satisfaction, but I hope Solomon’s example challenges our assumptions and beliefs that ‘we will finally be happy if we achieve our next goal.’

Where have you tried to find your satisfaction?

  • job/career
  • marriage
  • children
  • hobbies
  • money
  • success
  • fame
  • security
  • reputation
  • beauty
  • relationships
  • control
  • traditions/rituals
  • power
  • admiration
  • approval
  • substances
  • accomplishments

We have seen that unbelief and pride form the first two obstacles on our road to freedom. Realizing God’s desire for us to find genuine satisfaction in Him helps us discover the third primary obstacle: settling for satisfaction in anything else. God gave this practice a name: idolatry.

Allowing anything to become more important to us than God is allowing that to become an IDOL in our life…and just as not coveting made the “big list,” having no other idols before God is #1 in the 10 commandments. Exodus 20:3 says "You shall have no other gods before me.” Sometimes we don’t recognize it as idolatry. Of course we think and know God is #1 in our lives- we claim that and say it and have the head knowledge of it all day long. We believe it!! But, our actions don’t always match up to that. Before we know it, we can allow our priorities to get crazy out of whack and we are  putting other things in our life before God.

Obstacles on our road to freedom:

  • Unbelief
  • Pride
  • Settling for satisfaction with anything else (IDOLATRY)

Sometimes, the roots of idolatry go too deep & we need another strategy other than “willing away” a stronghold. If we confront a deeply entrenched idol directly and say “I’m not going to do that anymore,” two things happen. We develop a negative focus, and we create a satisfaction vacuum in our lives. A negative focus leads us to self-righteousness and blindness. An unmet need for satisfaction pulls us towards false solutions. We need to find true satisfaction to meet our unmet needs. If we try to dislodge idols in our own strength, we will become defeated and deluded. If we find satisfaction in Jesus, the idols lose their power and appeal.

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Praying God’s Word & Celebrating God’s Goodness

We are praying God’s Word because Scripture points us to the satisfaction we can find only in God. Praying Scripture that recognizes the goodness of God is critical in the process of breaking free from strongholds. This is true for 2 reasons:

  1. Virtually every stronghold involves the worship of some kind of idol. We have to acknowledge God as the Lord of our lives to renew our minds, Until we turn from idols to God, we will never find liberty, for “where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17).
  2. As long as our minds rehearse the strength of our stronghold more than the strength of our God, we will be ineffective. As we pray the Word of God acknowledging His limitless power and strength, truth will begin to overtake the lies. We realize that He is made strong in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9) and that God is MORE than able to deliver us (2 Cor 9:8 & Eph 3:20). Sometimes we have “minimized God.”

Ex: Most of you know by now we are a part of AdvoCare and coach people in regards to living a healthier lifestyle. Many times this includes educating others on clean eating. We have found that when we tell people what they can’t have “Nothing fried, white, sugar, alcohol, avoid dairy, wheat, sweet tea, coffee, soft drinks, junk food, fast food, anything processed, and eating out” that they feel deprived. We have found it to be more effective to focus on what they CAN have!! Instead, we say things like “Alright, so you are going to eat a balanced meal every three hours. Lots of lean protein- think grilled fish, chicken, lean ground turkey, & eggs….you can get creative with robust flavors for seasoning or add creole mustard, hot sauce, fresh salsa, etc. You also can have unlimited veggies- eat the rainbow & focus on those green! Broccoli, green beans, asparagus, peppers, cucumbers- throw it on the grill & get creative! Don’t forget about healthy fats like nut butter (delish on celery and apples!) & avocados. Complex carbs are important too- we like brown rice, quinoa, or baked sweet potatoes (even cut into the shape of fries and sprinkled with ground cinnamon). Drink LOTS or water- and you can add fresh berries, lemon, or lime if you want to add some flavor. Fruit is a great dessert! How about a big juicy orange, some berries, or frozen grapes?

SEE how that perspective makes such a difference? Instead of focusing on what they CAN’T have and them feeling deprived, we focus on the cast array of delicious foods they CAN have. And that’s exactly what God wants to do with our perspective on strongholds. Nothing on that list is “bad” unless it takes the place of God in our life & becomes more important, receives more of our time, focus, and attention. God wants us to focus on the FRUITS of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and the abundant life (Eph 3:20, John 10:10) that He has in store for us when we learn to find satisfaction in Him.

Don’t we ALL want more of those fruits in our life?? More peace? More joy? More love?? Don’t we all want to experience that abundant life here on earth that God has designed for us to live? We CAN. Through Christ…

**To be truly satisfied in Christ alone, we must learn to be content. And guess what? Just as an athlete practices their sport, or a musician practices playing their instrument, we believers striving to find satisfcation in God, we must PRACTICE contentment!! Just as Paul says in Philippians 4:11, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”  Isn’t it encouraging to you that even the apostle Paul had to LEARN contentment? There is hope for us yet! (Thank you, Carey for sharing this with us…)

Conclusion:

Only one God can deliver us. The most monumental leap we take toward freedom is the leap to our knees in surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” - Psalm 145:16-21

Scriptures to look up this week:

  • Nehemiah 9:6
  • Psalm 63:1- 5
  • Psalm 71:8
  • 2 Corinthians 3:17, 9:8, 12:9

Source: Moore, Beth. Living Free. Lifeway Christian Resources; 2002/Christian Growth Study Plan edition (December 31, 2001)

2 comments:

Kelly said...

Thank you for this! This is exactly what I needed today. As a stay at home mom, lately I have been feeling a little lost, unsettled in what my purpose is. There are days when i know in my heart i have meaning in caring for my sweet boys, but i feel like im not doing enough. Ive been praying hard for God to help me find the answers and this is exactly what He wanted me to read. Thank you

xabz Mukuba said...

This message really inspired me