The Slippery Slope of Satisfaction
By: Kristen L. McNulty
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Dictionary.com defines satisfaction as: "The state of being satisfied; content. The case or means of being satisfied."
Satisfaction is something that we are all looking for. It doesn't matter where we live or what kind of background we have, we all have a need in us to feel satisfied.
Unfortunately chasing satisfaction is a very slippery slope to go down. Why? Because all too often it leads us in a pursuit that is unending. And more often than not that pursuit has some pretty damaging consequences.
If we look throughout biblical history this most definitely is the case. Flipping back to Genesis we see two people in Adam and Eve who had everything that they could ever want at their fingertips: an abundance of food, a beautiful place to live, and fellowship with the creator. But that wasn't enough to satisfy them. So Adam and Eve reached out for the one thing they were told not too touch and in their quest to be satisfied, destroyed their lives and the consequences of that decision is still being felt today.
Going a little further in the Bible we see this happening again with the nation of Israel. God choose them as His people and He wanted to lead their nation and have them set apart from the other nations around at that time. But that didn't satisfy the Israelites. No, they wanted what every other nation had: a king.
So they begged and pleaded until finally God told Samuel to warn the people what would happen if they had a king and if they still wanted one, to grant their request.
So Samuel warned the people and they still wanted their own king, so they got one in Saul and from that point on Israel was never the same. Instead of leading the people towards God, many of the kings instead introduced idol worship. They oppressed the people and eventually the kingdom of Israel split and part of it was led into captivity.
All because Israel was not satisfied with being different. They wanted to look just like everyone else.
It would be great if the story ended there, but today its still the same. We try to find satisfaction in any place that we can and one of the major ways we do this is by comparing ourselves to others.
Basically we find satisfaction by comparing ourselves to others and coming out a head.
This is why women spend ridiculous amounts of money on clothes, make up, and in some cases surgery. They find satisfaction in looking better than the other women around them. This is why guys spend crazy amounts of money on their cars and toys and when they get together with other guys, much of the conversation revolves around comparing what they have. "Your truck is a v6? Ha! My truck is a v8 with a three ton towing capacity and 4 wheel drive."
We compare everything we have from computers to cars to haircuts to even the level of service we receive from our doctors. And if we come out a head, we are satisfied, but if we donít we arenít.
This creates a problem because no matter how much money we have or how much material we own, there will always be someone else who has something bigger or better. Bill Gates may have billions, but he will never be as cool as Bono. And Bono may wear cool glasses, but he doesnít have the looks of Matthew McConaughey.
Finding satisfaction in comparison leads to dis-satisfaction time and time again.
So where can we find satisfaction that lasts? Only in Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul knew this to be true. In his letter to the Philippians, he wrote:
"Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." (Phil. 4:11-13 NLT)
Paul wrote this while he was sitting in a prison cell. And not some fancy federal pen, but a roman prison cell, which according to history wasn't a pretty place to be in. Yet in that place, Paul was satisfied. It didn't matter that he was not free. It didn't matter that he was hungry. It didn't matter that he lacked worldly possessions. He had Christ and Christ was enough.
Today we have the same privilege that Paul had: we can look to Christ and in Christ we can be satisfied. You see when we fix our eyes on Jesus and look to Him as our source of satisfaction, suddenly the race to consume more doesn't become that appealing. And suddenly the big house and the fancy car become little less than distractions in the way of what really matters.
As Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary of the Bible:
"All are welcome to the blessings of salvation, to whom those blessings are welcome. In Christ there is enough for all, and enough for each. Those satisfied with the world, that see no need of Christ, do not thirst. They are in no uneasiness about their souls: but where God gives grace, he gives a thirst after it; and where he has given a thirst after it, he will give it. Come to Christ, for he is the Fountain opened, he is the Rock smitten. Come to holy ordinances, to the streams that make glad the city of our God. Come to the healing waters, come to the living waters, Revelation 22:17. Our Saviour referred to this, John 7:37. Come, and buy; make it your own by application of the grace of the gospel to yourselves. Come, and eat; make it still more your own, and enjoy it. The world comes short of our expectations; we promise ourselves, at least, water in it, and we are disappointed; but Christ outdoes our expectations. We come to him, and we find wine and milk. The gifts offered to us are such as no price can be set upon. The things offered are already paid for; for Christ purchased them at the full price of his own blood, 1 Peter 1:19."
Come to Christ, keep your eyes on Him, and you too will be satisfied!
This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.