The only gift that satisfies
Last night I was thinking about all that God has done for me this past year. I was reflecting on his kindness to me. He has blessed my life so abundantly, and I am humbled when I consider his goodness to me. To be honest, I am a bit uncomfortable with how he has blessed my life. I live in a home far nicer than I need. I drive a car far better than I need. I have more clothes than I need. He has blessed me far beyond my needs. I consider my brothers and sisters around the world who love God as much as or more than I do and yet suffer such loss for the cause of Christ, and it makes me feel uneasy when I realize how well I live. When I look at my life and how God has blessed me, sometimes it seems unfair.
But as I was talking with God and considering all of this, I was reminded of a simple truth. Only Jesus satisfies me. Of all of the material blessings I have been given, none of them satisfies me. Only God does that for me. I love him. He satisfies my soul like nothing else. I believe I have come to the place in my life where I can honestly say that he is all I want. Not only is he all I need, he is also all I want. A nice house is great, but it doesn’t satisfy the soul. A nice car is great, but at the end of the day it still doesn’t satisfy. Nicer furniture doesn’t satisfy. Nicer clothes don’t satisfy. Nicer shoes don’t satisfy. A bigger TV with higher resolution doesn’t satisfy. A better cell phone or tablet doesn’t satisfy. Fill in the blank. Nothing outside my relationship with God will ever satisfy.
Think about this for a moment. Can you remember the Christmas gifts you received last year? How about the year before that? How quickly our attention moves on. What seemed so important last year is now gathering dust in a closet. The challenge is to remember this when we consider the Christmas season before us. We are bombarded with messages in the media that seek to stir up discontent. The underlying message is that you will be happier if you just had __________. Sadly, many well-meaning Christians fall into this trap.
Last year I went to one of the large retailers for the day after Thanksgiving sales. I was shocked. An armed police officer stood in the center of the main aisle to help keep order. The place was packed. I could hardly navigate the perimeter of the store. It left me with a sick feeling in my gut. If Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, why did everyone seem so consumed with greed, pushing, shoving, running to get the must have item of the year? I love a bargain as well as the next guy, but this was out of control.
The message of the Bible is that only God satisfies. The message from our enemy is that everything but God satisfies. Which message are you living by?
This Christmas, remember that the only gift that satisfies is the gift God gave us two thousand years ago. There in a manger, in the town of Bethlehem, a baby was born. But that tiny baby was the very Son of God, born in the flesh, given to you and me for the forgiveness of our sins.
Consider these verses:
“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:8-11, NASB).
I love the way this passage is written in this version when it says “there has been born for you a Savior.” He was born for you. He was given for you. It was all for you, this amazing gift from God. Imagine that! This baby was given to you so that you could have a relationship with God. God gave you the gift of the forgiveness of your sins wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV, emphasis added).
It is the gift of God! And this, my friends, is the only gift that satisfies.
Maybe you are reading this and you know the feeling of being unsatisfied. You know that something is missing from your life. You also know in your heart of hearts that more stuff is not going to fill that void in your life, but you don’t know where to turn. If that is you, today God reaches out to you with the gift of all gifts. It is as if God stands before you holding a baby in his arms. As you stand before him, he extends his arms to you, giving this baby to you. Will you receive him? Will you accept this gift for you? In this baby is everything you could ever want or need. This baby is Jesus, the very son of God, given to you for the forgiveness of your sins so that you can have a relationship with God. This relationship satisfies the deepest longing of your life more than anything this world could possibly give. Will you receive this gift today?
It is also possible that as you are reading this today, you have already accepted this gift at some point in your life. But for some reason you’ve set aside your relationship with God and are striving to fill that void in your life with more stuff. You’ve forgotten the gift you’ve been given. You’ve set it on a shelf in the far reaches of a closet out of sight and out of mind. How sad to be given a gift so valuable and to set it aside. Now you find yourself empty, unsatisfied, and wondering where you went wrong. If that is you, turn back to your gift today.
My friend, where are you at in your relationship with God? Is he enough? Are you satisfied with him alone? Or have you fallen victim to the lie that something else can make you happy? God gave us an incredible gift in his son. This Christmas, find your satisfaction in Christ alone.
He truly is the only gift that satisfies.
This article was originally published in the December 2013 Newsletter.