As I mentioned in a recent post, my church has been going through Ecclesiastes recently. One theme that has really struck me in the past couple of sermons has been that “We are offered more than we pursue.” C. S. Lewis put it eloquently (as he does): “It would seem 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.”
How true. As Ecclesiastes reinforces (over and over and over again), this world is really not enough. We try, we work, we earn a living, we have friends and family, a little bit of joy, a little bit of heartache, then we die. If none of it was for God…it was all pretty much meaningless. Yet, somehow, when offered the choice between all of that worldly nonsense and an eternity of joy, peace, and unfailing and everlasting love, so many choose to stick with what they know. We humans sell ourselves short. God offers us what every single human heart craves – an endless lifetime filled with all that is lovely and pure and good, a Heart that is forever devoted, an adventure that will never end, the chance to give every ounce of who we are for a worthy cause – but so many people look at it, think it’s too good to be true, and settle for the empty pleasures that can be had today. I get it, in a way. It’s hard to wrap your head around. It seems insubstantial, like a fairytale. We tell ourselves to get our heads out of the clouds and talk ourselves firmly into reality. But God wants us to believe in this fairytale, and to settle for nothing less.
God wants us to dare to want MORE. If only we would let our desires reach the heights He intended for them. If only we would “set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” If only we would aim higher. If only we would believe that everything He’s saying might just be true, and actually chase after it. We wouldn’t settle for the baser pleasures that distract so many. The party scene. A house full of stuff. Another experience. Popularity. Climbing the corporate ladder. None necessarily bad. All so very empty on their own.
I’m not speaking hypothetically, I have totally chased after all these things; I still do, sometimes. But I’m starting to catch glimpses of that something more that’s out there, and it’s starting to make the things of the world seem…bland. It’s really not fun anymore to spend a night out, trying to see how many guys I can get to notice me. I have the attention of the One who matters. I’d rather talk about Him than pretty much anything else. Rather talk to Him than pretty much anyone else. I’m starting, just beginning, to develop those big, God-sized desires. Someday, I want to get it like Paul got it. Because man, he caught the bug. NOTHING could satisfy him like knowing Christ. He couldn’t be satiated anymore, even with the amazing life and credentials that he’d had before his conversion.
Philippians 3:8 (ESV)
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
Man, can’t you just feel the craving!? Everything else into the trash, none of it matters. There was only one thing he wanted and literally nothing else was even worth a passing glance. I want to be like that! Let’s not settle anymore. Let’s dare to let our desires be so big that nothing short of Christ can fill them. That just the world’s good can’t cut it anymore. Everything it has to offer is so puny in comparison to everything God has offered. Only if we have shrunken desires would we ever think they could be satisfied by worldly pleasures. Let’s dare to pursue that infinite joy, so it’s obvious to us that nothing as silly as drink or sex or ambition could even come close to actually filling up that desire. Let’s decide not to settle for cheap thrills, but crave something loftier. I want everything He has, and I’m not interested in settling for anything less! Who’s with me?