Last week we listened to a message from Darrin Patrick that I found challenging. Here are some lingering quotes (Quotes not credited belong to Darrin Patrick) :
“We live as if this world is all there is. Why does failure crush me? Because I think my reward is only here.”
“If you don’t believe in the next world then when you don’t find happiness in this one you are not only disappointment –but you are in despair.”
“A higher world is calling us. Everything that is good is merely a pointer to what is to come. Don’t worship the good gifts that are meant to direct our eyes upwards.”
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. “ CS Lewis
“Our ancestors believed in two worlds and understood this one to be the solitary poor nasty one. We are the first to believe we can actually find happiness here completely on earth. And our search for it has actually produced unhappiness.” Peggy Newman (NY Times)
“Contentment is possible –the bible commands us to be content.”
Darrin made some bold statements.
- We wrongly believe that if we have (fill in the blank) life will be (happy, complete, full, easy etc).
- Lust of the eyes is the sin of coveting made evident when I desire something else over God.
- What does that look like in my life?
For me, for a while, that type of coveting existed in writing.
My writing ministry became my obsession. This became apparent in clips of short prayer – please God let me be published, please God let me get paid, if I could publish mainstream I would feel successful, if I could get article assignments over freelancing them in I would feel valued, if I could only sign with an agent… etc etc,
Similar to what Darrin shared, I got it all. Over the course of the last ten years God has answered each one of these prayers. And guess what? Just like Patrick said – I still wasn’t content!
Because now I want to publish a book. Now I want more. There is always going to be more.
“My problem might not be the failure – it might be the success. I’ve been taught well on how to handle disappointment and failure. But success has the potential to take me far from God.”
How did God challenge me through Darrin’s words?
God used his words to confirm thoughts stirring inside me for the past few months. It’s isn’t wrong to hope and dream. And it isn’t wrong when those dreams evolve as God answers and directs previous prayers. But it is wrong to believe that these ministry successes will bring me contentment. Only God brings contentment.
“If I get everything I ever wanted it will not bring me contentment because it wasn’t designed to do that – it is designed to be a pointer to a greater contentment.”
All of life’s pleasures are designed to direct my eyes up toward God. All of the good things I experience in this life are only a taste of the good to come in the next life. I need to focus on what is to come.
In Philippians 4:11, Paul says, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content.”
While I was researching Paul, I read a blog from the girl downstairs. She talks about Paul and how he learned in all things to be content. “Through shipwreck and snakebite and illness and prison and being jeered at and tormented. Paul is content because he knows his Saviour, and his Saviour knows him, and Paul is able to rest in that. In the face of everything else, Paul knows that Jesus is right there with him. and that is enough.”
Paul never talks about a search for happiness on earth. Paul talks about contentment. He knows it comes from the one “who put the stars in the sky.”
In failure or success.
In need or in plenty.
Because I know my Saviour and my Saviour knows me and that is enough.