Are You Satisfied With Jesus?
A friend and I are reading Beth Moore’s book Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life. This is the first book I’ve ever read by Beth Moore and I have been surprised at how I misjudged her without reading any of her books. For some reason, I associated Beth Moore with seeker-friendly churches and women’s tea parties. I expected fluff and chicken soup for the soul, but instead I’ve discovered a woman of deep faith and Biblical knowledge with whom my heart resonates. I agree with her assessment that many Christians are not satisified with Jesus and that the problem lies with Christians, not Jesus who is absolutely satisfying! I agree with her that a spiritual war is raging and Christians must fight to be free from areas of captivity in their lives. Even though the trials I have experienced have been different than hers, I can relate to her journey of finding peace and satisfaction in Christ by surrendering deeply to God in the midst of difficult circumstances.
She asks a question that should provoke soul-searching for all those who claim to be His followers:
Is your soul, your spirit, your inmost place-the real you-entirely satisifed with Christ?
She then expounds upon the biblical meaning of satisfaction by studying several Old Testament Scriptures (Isa. 55:1-2, Jer. 31:23-25, and Psalm 63). The Hebrew word used for “satisfy” in Isa. 55 means “to have enough, be full…sufficiently”; the word used in Jer. 31 means “to fill, accomplish, the filling of something that was empty…the act of replenishment as well as the experience of satiation.” David was so satisfied with God that he said God’s love was “better than life” and that his soul was satisfied “as with marrow and fatness” when he meditated upon God (Ps. 63:3).
After examining the biblical meaning of the Hebrew words used for “satisfy”, she shares some additional observations and insights:
The most obvious symptom of a soul in need of God’s satisfaction is a sense of inner emptiness. The awareness of a ‘hollow place’ somewhere deep inside – the inability to be satisfied… Does your hungry soul ever manifest physical symptoms such as irritability, selfish ambitions, anger, impure thoughts, envy, resentments, and eruptions of lust? (p. 39)
Since this blog is dedicated to my study of Mormonism, I was wondering if any LDS talks focus on this topic of being satisfied in Christ. I tried doing a search on LDS.org to see what would come up under the topic of satisfaction/satisfied.
I found a number of talks by former LDS President, Gordon B. Hinckley. He was apparently satisfied about a few things. One article was discussing the satisfaction found in marriage and family. He said some things quite the contrary to the common Christian teaching I’ve received over the years, including the book I’m reading by Beth Moore.
According to Hinckley, “The sweetest feelings of life, the most generous and satisfying impulses of the human heart, find expression in a marriage…”
Hinckley went on to say that God intended that our deepest satisfactions be found in our human relationships:
“God is the designer of the family. He intended that the greatest of happiness, the most satisfying aspects of life, the deepest joys should come in our associations together and our concerns one for another as fathers and mothers and children.”
Beth Moore would not agree with this. She says this regarding her human relationships:
As much as I enjoy my husband, daughters, family, and friends, no relationship in my life brings me more joy than my relationship with God…. He is the absolute joy of my life. I don’t just love Him. I love loving Him (p. 49-50).
Beth Moore’s satisfaction in God is derived from her study of God’s Word and flows out of her intimate relationship with Him. Writers of scripture and many saints of old have testified of such joy in their relationship with God – a joy that surpasses the joy of even the most satisfying of human relationships. David testified: “in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11). His soul was most satisfied and delighted in God:
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches (Psalms 63:5-6)
I think most committed Christians would consider it idolatry to find one’s greatest satisfaction in human relationships. Not that we don’t all struggle with idolatry, but to actually teach that the deepest satisfactions are found in human relationships?? I mean, wow. And in addition to the idolatry aspect, talk about setting a person up for disappointment! Nothing fails and discourages me like when I put my hope in human relationships! Humans are prone to fail and we inevitably fail one another. But God will never disappoint us. We are encouraged to set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:2). We are to delight ourselves in the Lord and then He will fill the desires of our heart as only He can (Ps. 37:4). No human being can fill our heart’s deepest desires and longings. We were created for an intimate relationship with God! We are most satisfied when we surrender ourselves to Him and let Him fill us with Himself. If we do this, we will never be disappointed. Sure, people will disappoint us and circumstances may seem unbearable at times, but if our hope is planted firmly in God we will never be shaken. Though we lose everything else, we will always have Him and His satisfying love.
I think there are some underlying doctrinal differences here that may be causing this difference in emphasis regarding what should be considered most satisfying in life. Bible-believing Christians do not agree, on Biblical grounds, with what Hinckley quoted in this article on marriage:
“no man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God without the woman, and no woman can reach perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God, alone…”
The Bible, of course, never teaches that marriage is a prerequisite for heaven, but, rather, that it is better if a person remains single for the purpose of wholehearted devotion to the Lord (if they have power over their will and can abstain from fornication – 1 Cor. 7, Matt. 19:10-12). Hinckley’s teaching is contrary to the Bible’s teaching on marriage and exalts the human marriage relationship above a status warranted in the Bible. Perhaps this is the underlying difference in why he placed such an emphasis on the satisfaction to be found in human relationships and why his descriptions of his experiences with God fail to ignite holy envy in me. For example, in a 1997 interview Hinckley described his prayer life. He stated that he prayed to the Lord in the night and morning. He said, “I think he hears my prayers. As he hears the prayers of others. I think he answers them.”