Lipsense, essential oils, Lularoe, Plexus, Advocare, Health coaching, Sleep coaching, Rodan & Fields, Norwex; this is what fills my newsfeed, all the time. And I get it. The product is amazing. The oils have healed your ailments and helped your littles fall asleep, the Norwex has enabled you to throw out all of your household chemicals and cleaners, LulaRoe is the most comfortable clothing you have ever owned and is made in the USA… I get it, it is a MUST have product. Plus, the added benefit of being compensated for a product you love, allowing you to stay at home or boost your income. So the posts go up, the live feeds are on, the sales ensue.
Now let’s imagine a product that would be so satisfying that it would grant 10 posts a day; a product that might actually warrant taking over my page or my feed. One that always delivers and does what it advertises.
And all the church kids said: “Jesus!”
This ‘product’ should be Jesus, right?!
So why is it not? And I’m not just talking on Facebook or Instagram, because I know those are probably not the best mediums to share our satisfying savior, though they are one way to. But why do we not share Jesus during playdates or dinner or story time or at the grocery store; conversations on our other products are often brought up in those encounters, but not the best one.
Now many things can be the reason; fear, not wanting to be weird, waiting for the proper time, not wanting to push Jesus, not knowing how, etc. But what I think is the main reason: we don’t believe him to be satisfying enough in our own hearts.
We haven’t experienced him as satisfying enough.
Satisfying enough to risk awkwardness.
Satisfying enough to risk being labeled a weirdo.
Satisfying enough to even have the desire to bring him up.
So how do we increase our experience of Jesus being all satisfying?
Let’s look at the products people are selling. For all of the products, there is always advertised a need that the product can fill:
- Does your lipstick fade or get smudged easily?
- Would you like to live more naturally, using natural remedies?
- Are your clothes sustainably made in the US, and comfortable and stylish?
- Is your skin wrinkly, splochy, dry, damaged?
- And perhaps most enticing: Do you want more money and want to work from home?
They all present a need that their product can fulfill.
What is our need? What isn’t our need? Jesus satisfies many needs: loneliness, purpose, identity, joy, etc. However, when we feel those needs creep in, we are quick to run to easier, cheaper, faster substitutes:
- Lonely? Scroll through the feed, get a drink, start up a show
- Purposelessness? Start a new project, volunteer, stay busy
- Identity? Pour your life into your job, your family, your role as mother, be successful at something
- Joylessness? Pop a pill, pursue your happiness, make a change
This leaves us constantly attending to our needs, yet never completely satisfying them, just snack after snack.
And as long as we continue snacking through the hunger, the temporary satisfaction can last quite a while.
Until it doesn’t:
the feed leaves you lacking, jealous, empty;
the drink never satisfies;
the show ends;
the business becomes wearisome;
the job fails;
the kids move out;
the prescription needs upping;
the pursuit of happiness has led to a new spouse, house, car, job…and yet still not happy.
But our society is full of cheap solutions. So we keep trying and trying and trying; there are never ending options to chase after.
So how can we experience Jesus as satisfying?
Instead of running to the cheaper options when the hunger hits, run to him.
Run to him…
- Tell him your needs: “I am lonely; I don’t know what the point of anything is; I feel worthless; I am so depressed”
- Ask him to help you believe and confess any disbelief: “Help me believe that you can satisfy my (loneliness/purposelessness/lack of identity/joylessness). Right now I don’t. I feel like (being loved/recognition/praise/pleasure) will bring the fulfillment I want. Help me.”
- Read the Bible honestly: Matthew 7:14 “…the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life…” Luke 9:23 “…’If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’”
- John the Baptist dies in prison for telling about Christ, Jeremiah is beaten and imprisoned for doing what God called him, many apostles were martyred – Jesus as satisfying is NOT synonymous with a comfortable, easy life, but rather we have contentment and fulfillment DESPITE what happens in life, good or bad.
- Mark 8:35 “…whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel’s will save it.”
- John 16:33 “…in this world you will have tribulation…”
- Lay down half-hearted obedience: Ray Ortlund once said “Half-hearted Christians are the most miserable people of all. They know enough to feel guilty, but they haven’t gone far enough with Christ to be happy.” Obedience rooted in faith is what the Bible calls for. Not a checkbox list, not an “I do this, so he will do this”, but rather a full and glad submission to obey in whatever he may ask and trusting him with the results. God is getting results we can’t see or fathom. So whether the outcome is visibly productive or not, God gets his mission done. And often in our full submission in the hard and trying, is when his sufficiency shines through.
- Pray, pray, pray: In everything, ask for his help. “Help me follow you, help me be obedient, help me to gladly be obedient, help me to love you more, help me to see and savor you more than I do.”
Mark 9:24 “I believe; help my unbelief”
Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
Luke 22:21-22 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus prays for Peter’s faith to be sustained even through the sin of denial, because he knows that God is the one who gives faith.
I love house renovations; updating the paint, the floor, the tile; just making things look new and fresh. While this can be perfectly healthy and a good creative outlet, this can also be what I run to when my heart is a bit lacking or downcast.
Frustrations with the kids? House project makes me feel better.
Strain with extended family? House projects soothe the sore.
I like to feel productive and that often fills my sense of worth and house projects fulfill that yearning.
So when my kids are struggling with not being content with their toys and always wanting more and more. I can teach and talk to them about how Jesus satisfies our deepest needs.
I tell them that sometimes mommy believes the lie too that “If only I had [this], I would be happy”. In my case, it’s “If only I had the fireplace done, then I would be happy”. And I chase doing the fireplace project, but once it’s done, I only want to start on the next project.
It is the same with the toys. “If only I had a new Lego set, I would be happy”. But the Lego set gets bought then fades in newness and a new toy is desired. However, turning to Christ with my wants and asking him to fulfill my deeper need is always more satisfying (and I can say it from experience, if indeed I have experienced it. If not, it’s just lip service.) And I can help them navigate asking Christ to fulfill their deeper needs and not running so quickly to temporary fulfillment.
O how we would flourish if we experienced Christ as sufficient, not only in evangelism, but also in our parenting.