Friday, February 13, 2015

"There is in Christ Jesus provision for the full satisfaction and contentment..."

"There is in Christ Jesus provision for the full satisfaction and contentment of the needy and thirsty soul.  [...]

First. The excellency of Christ is such, that the discovery of it is exceedingly contenting and satisfying to the soul. The inquiry of the soul is after that which is most excellent. The carnal soul imagines that earthly things are excellent; one thinks riches most excellent, another has the highest esteem of honour, and to another carnal pleasure appears the most excellent; but the soul cannot find contentment in any of these things, because it soon finds an end to their excellency. Worldly men imagine, that there is true excellency and true happiness in those things which they are pursuing. They think that if they could but obtain them, they should be happy; and when they obtain them, and cannot find happiness, they look for happiness in something else, and are still upon the pursuit.

But Christ Jesus has true excellency, and so great excellency, that when they come to see it they look no further, but the mind rests there. It sees a transcendent glory and an ineffable sweetness in him; it sees that till now it has been pursuing shadows, but that now it has found the substance; that before it had been seeking happiness in the stream, but that now it has found the ocean. 

The excellency of Christ is an object adequate to the natural cravings of the soul, and is sufficient to fill the capacity. It is an infinite excellency, such an one as the mind desires, in which it can find no bounds; and the more the mind is used to it, the more excellent it appears. Every new discovery makes this beauty appear more ravishing, and the mind sees no end; here is room enough for the mind to go deeper and deeper, and never come to the bottom. The soul is exceedingly ravished when it first looks on this beauty, and it is never weary of it. The mind never has any satiety, but Christ's excellency is always fresh and new, and tends as much to delight, after it has been seen a thousand or ten thousand years, as when it was seen the first moment. The excellency of Christ is an object suited to the superior faculties of man, it is suited to entertain the faculty of reason and understanding, and there is nothing so worthy about which the understanding can be employed as this excellency; 
no other object is so great, noble, and exalted.

This excellency of Jesus Christ is the suitable food of the rational soul. The soul that comes to Christ, feeds upon this, and lives upon it; it is that bread which came down from heaven, of which he that eats shall not die; it is angels' food, it is that wine and milk that is given without money, and without price. This is that fatness in which the believing soul delights itself; here the longing soul may be satisfied, and the hungry soul may be filled with goodness. The delight and contentment that is to be found here, passeth understanding, and is unspeakable and full of glory. It is impossible for those who have tasted of this fountain, and know the sweetness of it, ever to forsake it. The soul has found the river of water of life, and it desires no other drink; it has found the tree of life, and it desires no other fruit.

Secondly. The manifestation of the love of Christ gives the soul abundant contentment. This love of Christ is exceedingly sweet and satisfying, it is better than life, because it is the love of a person of such dignity and excellency. The sweetness of his love depends very much upon the greatness of his excellency; so much the more lovely the person, so much the more desirable is his love. How sweet must the love of that person be, who is the eternal Son of God, who is of equal dignity with the Father!  How great a happiness must it be to be the object of the love of him who is the Creator of the world, and by whom all things consist, and who is exalted at God's right hand, and made head over principalities and powers in heavenly places, who has all things put under his feet, and is King of kings and Lord of lords, and is the brightness of the Father's glory! Surely to be beloved by him, is enough to satisfy the soul of a worm of the dust."

-Jonathan Edwards in Safety, Fullness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ


Lord Jesus, I'm so convicted by those words.  I'm so convicted because they're so definitive of who I am -- so regularly discontent, ungrateful, desiring more, rather than joyfully worshipping you with all that I am and continually thanking you for all that you are.  I readily confess that we are so quick to place such a high value on the things we think will bring us utmost joy and happiness.  We seek our own pleasure and are continuously in search of the things we believe will fill our hearts with the fullness of life.  Instead of looking to you, we look to the things of this world.  Father, we find ourselves enthralled by ideas of success and adventure and endless pursuits of love.  We place our hope in relationships, friendships, and marriage.  Even if we are unwilling to admit it, our minds are so often convinced that our joy will increase if only we obtain the next best thing...  Whether it is worldly materials or a new job or stability within our circumstances or control over our desires or even the perfectly decorated home and a long, relaxing weekend.  Yet time and time again, we find ourselves disappointed.  We find our souls continually seeking more, discontent, weary, and exhausted.  

Jesus, we don't want to be this way.  When we're really honest with ourselves, we know that these "things" and "dreams" and "ideas" won't satisfy our deepest desires, but yet we continue to crave them.  We crave what we think they will provide us.  We crave what we think we want, what we think is best for us.  I often fear that I will always struggle with desiring the perfect circumstances or marriage or control over my life or comfort more than I desire you.  The lies are all around us that these things are better than you, they're more immediate, they'll satisfy us.  Many of them are good gifts, but they're not you.  And when we exalt them above you, we become enslaved to their dark sides, their lies, their deception.  Jesus, the truth is, we are enticed by sin.  Our flesh is so willing to believe that the things of this world will provide for us freedom, but it's always an illusion.  What we think will set us free ultimately enslaves and leads to death.

Father, thank you that you did not leave us to wrestle with and attempt to defeat sin on our own because we couldn't have done it.  We are utterly helpless apart from you.  Thank you that you sent Jesus to defeat sin on our behalf.  Thank you that when we place our faith and trust in you as Lord and Savior of our lives, we are covered by your death and resurrection and identified as your own.  Thank you that you give us victory over sin and death.  Thank you that there is fullness of life in you, fullness of joy, fullness of love.  Thank you that you offer us yourself.  

Help our unbelief, God.  Fill us with the Spirit that we might trust that you are better than anything the world has to offer us.  May we love you more deeply than anyone or anything else.  Change us, Lord.  May we see you all around us and continually seek to be drawn in more deeply to your presence.  Change us that we may hold fast to the truth that you are good and you are sovereign.  Your plans are better, your ways are better, and a relationship with you is the sweetest, most pleasurable, enjoyable, delightful gift we could ever receive.  I'm so sorry that we so often live as though we don't believe that to be true.

Jesus, all we are is yours.  Thank you that you have committed to us.  Thank you that you have promised that you will be with us until the very end of the age.  Thank you that you are committed to conforming us into your image and presenting us blameless before our Father one day in heaven.  Thank you for letting us be a part of your family.  Thank you that in you we find safety, fullness, contentment, joy, and sweet refreshment for our souls -- even though we are the most undeserving.  
May we desire you and love you not because of the gifts you give us but because of who you are.  And when we recognize your good gifts, may they not lead us to worship the gifts themselves but to worship you -- the Creator and Giver of life, breath, and every good thing.  

Thank you for your grace.  Thank you that in Christ there is hope for today, hope for tomorrow, and hope for eternity.  May we long for more of you always.  Let us not forsake you as our first love.  Your Word says that your love is better than life.  Please fill us with faith to believe and walk in that truth.  Because your love is better than life, may our lips glorify your name.

"For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” -Jeremiah 31:25

"You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
-Psalm 16:11

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