A Longing for Something Different

Looking Out

If we are honest, we know the things in this world won’t and can’t satisfy us.

A Longing for Something Different

Our longing is for something greater, something more. We long for another world to come that is different than this one.

You don’t really need the Bible to tell you that. All you need to do is look at our movies and books. Most present worlds different than ours. Worlds without sickness and disease. Worlds that are heaven like.

We create these stories because there is a natural longing in all of us for something different. Something that will give us meaning and hope. Something to look forward to.

Our Longing Can Be Fulfilled

The good news is we can fulfill our heart’s desire by turning to Jesus. When we repent of sins and turn to follow Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the perfect world we long for, the perfect world we read about in Revelation will be our world.

But here is the thing, if we don’t repent and turn to Jesus, then this world is as good as it is going to get for us. This world is our heaven because what comes after is much more horrible than anything we could ever imagine. What comes after is punishment for all eternity.

Question for Reflection

  1. What do you make of our natural longing for a world to come?

Resources

Post adapted from my sermon Scripture Undermined, Scripture Defended, Repentance Offered

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X-Ray Questions: What do you think you need?

This week we continue our X-Ray Questions series, as we look at what you think you need. You can read the other posts in this series by clicking here.

X-Ray Question:

(7) What do you think you need? What are your felt needs?

Questions 2 and 3 exposed your aims in terms of activity and pursuit. This question exposes your aims in terms of what you hope to receive, get, and keep. Felt needs are frequently taken as self-evident necessities to be acquired, not as deceptive slave-masters. Our culture of need reinforces the flesh’s instincts and habits. In most cases, a person’s felt needs are slang for idolatrous demands for love, understanding, a sense of being in control, affirmation, and achievement.

Understand

First, understand that your needs are already known by (Matt. 6:8-15) and taken care of by the Lord (Matt. 6:24-32).

Second, understand that our culture drives/reinforces these felt needs through both electronic (t.v., internet, and radio) and print (magazines, books, and photography) media.

Third, by reflecting on the things we think we need, we can gain a good understanding of the ways we are seeking love and affirmation from others. It also shows us what we think we need to control and/or achieve, in order to gain affirmation.

For instance, we may believe we need a new car, new clothing, a certain degree, job, apartment, etc, so we will be accepted and loved by others. Instead of finding our acceptance and love in our relationship with Christ, we are seeking acceptance and love from others through certain possessions that tell the world we are successful.

When we truly reflect on the reasons we desire the things mentioned above, we learn what we hope to, receive, get, and keep from buying a new car, new clothing, acquiring a certain degree, job, or apartment.

On the one hand, we may be seeking these things as a status symbol. On the other hand, we may be seeking these things for our own comfort and protection. When we seek these things for comfort or protection, we are seeking to control the universe, rather than subjecting ourselves to God’s rule. We forget God is in control that He alone is the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.

Repent

We should repent by realizing we do not need to manufacture a certain status that gains us acceptance, love, or affirmation from the world. As Christians, our status before God should be enough because through it we gain genuine and everlasting acceptance, love, and affirmation from God.

Through our belief in Christ, we are made sons of God. Our relationship with God is repaired, and we enjoy the love, mercy, grace, and acceptance of God through Christ. As a result, we should not desire, nor do we need, the acceptance of the world.

Scripture

Here are a few passages from God’s word to meditate on this week, as you consider your felt needs: Matt. 6:8-15; 6:25-32; 1 Kings 3:5-14; all the prayers in the Bible express reoriented felt needs.

All X-Ray questions taken from David Powlison’s book Seeing with New Eyes.

Image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Head or Heart Knowledge?

I recently went to The Gospel Coalition Conference in Chicago, where I attended a dinner, and received 19 free books. Yeah, I know, it was pretty awesome! Five of the books happened to be the Essential Edwards Collection by Doug Sweeney and Owen Strachan. This set is an excellent look into the life and writings of Jonathan Edwards. You can check them out here.

In the first book, Lover of God, this quote appears by Jonathan Edwards:

“He that is spiritually enlightened truly apprehends and sees it, or has a sense of it. He does not merely rationally believe that God is glorious, but he has a sense of the gloriousness of God in his heart. There is not only a rational belief that God is holy…but there is a sense of the loveliness of God’s holiness. There is not only a speculatively judging that God is gracious, but a sense how amiable God is upon that account, or a sense of the beauty of this divine attribute (Works 17, 413)” (Essential Edwards Collection, 34).

Explanation

Edwards is distinguishing between an intellectual knowledge and a heart knowledge of God. He believes intellectual knowledge of God without heart knowledge is no real knowledge at all.

You see, you can define premillennialism, postmillennialism, and amillennialism better than anyone in the field; beat everyone in the church in a Bible drill, including the pastor himself; have the entire Pentateuch memorized in Hebrew, and still not have a personal relationship with the Lord.

Knowing the Lord should involve more than our mind. Knowing the Lord should involve our entire being. It should involve our mind, emotions, and soul. We should truly delight in God, knowing that He is our Savior. Just the thought of His Son willingly enduring the cross for our sins, should send us to our knees to praise Him. Pondering His attributes should cause us to fear Him, while at the same time bringing sheer joy to our souls. We should take delight in reading His word and seeking His face in prayer because He is our Lord and Savior, the Creator of the universe, and the One in whom we find our strength and rest.

Let’s Get Real

If you have never felt a sense of pure joy at the thought of Him saving you from the pits of hell, praised Him for His divine attributes, or even thanked Him for the roof over your head, the job you have, the money in the bank, and the food you eat, then you may need to rethink your relationship with the Lord.

Challenge

I invite you, as we speak, to take an honest look at your relationship with the Lord. That is what Jonathan Edwards did, and His life changed for all eternity.