“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
That passage from C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory speaks to us as clearly today as when he delivered the sermon in 1942. In fact, it’s probably even more true of Christians in the West today than it even was at the time he spoke those words.
We have more worldly pleasure and comfort at our disposal than ever before, and we have a culture (and even a church) that demands less of a pious, deep spiritual lifestyle than any time in the past 2,000 years. We settle too easily for superficial satisfaction of career success or domestic bliss or conquering a hobby. Those all take effort; they aren’t “easy” to accomplish. But they don’t echo in eternity and they don’t quench the deep thirst in our souls that longs to experience ultimate, transcendent joy.
For the Christian, it’s obvious where we should turn. Only God through Christ and the Holy Spirit can completely satisfy us. And our witness to the world will reach its potential only when we can truly say that we find our joy in the Lord and Him alone.
This is what John Piper means with his famous saying, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
But how do we get there? We certainly don’t do it on our own, we need God’s help through prayer and pleading for Him to fill us to the brim. Here are some verses to help guide us:
- “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” – Psalm 90:14
- “I, the Lord, am your God … open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” – Psalm 81:10
- “Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to dishonest gain.” – Psalm 119:36
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5
In addition to asking for God’s leading, it also helps to correctly set our mind and our expectations around how we should order our lives and our priorities. How should we think about all the other pleasures and comforts around us, many of which are blessings from God?
Again, the Bible gives us a framework:
- “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
- “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” – Colossians 3:5
- “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” – Matthew 19:29
- ““If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
- ““How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” – Luke 18:24-25
The words of Jesus are probably the most stark. We aren’t even to consider our families (even our children) to be worth more than Christ. We know that in our minds, but when it comes to living that out we all too often fall short. I love my family. I adore my children. I’m excited to use the gifts God has given me to find success in the world, to earn money that I can use to bless my family and others.
But none of that compares to Christ. All of that must be subjected to His word and His call and His right ordering, or else it becomes an idol and we lose Him. Christ demands everything from us.
That demand is His truest grace. There really is nothing in this world that compares to Him. He is the ultimate reward, and He made the ultimate sacrifice that we could never make for ourselves or our family or our friends. Only He is able to restore the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. The fact that He requires everything from us shouldn’t be a burden but rather a relief.
So put aside the temporary, lacking pleasures of this world and pursue Christ above all things. Do whatever it takes, pay whatever it costs. Don’t settle for being too easily pleased.