Do you know why you are here?
Seriously, do you ever wonder why God put you on this earth, why He knit you together in your mother’s womb? We all have different backgrounds, families, experiences, education, limitations, gifts, abilities, and so on. We can think and do and achieve and enjoy more today than at any other time in history. And yet so many of us are unsatisfied and unfulfilled.
We chase and strive and seek after what we believe will fulfill–money, status, power, relationships–only to be left empty at the end of the day, looking for a new direction, a new relationship, a new way to fill the aching void. Yes, even in the church.
I believe this is because we seek to satisfy our flesh but not our spirits. And the flesh is never satisfied.
I love what Paul said about putting confidence in the flesh:
If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless (Philippians 3:4b-6, NIV).
Paul was saying that he sought after all those things that would bring him satisfaction, especially when it came to religion. He did everything his religion required–and then some. But he wasn’t satisfied. Sounds like some of us in the church. We can put a lot of confidence in our knowledge of God, our church attendance, and our busy service. And still not be satisfied.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith (Philippians 3:7-9).
Are you busy serving in the church, attending every time the doors are open, pretty confident in what you know about the Bible, and yet empty inside, feeling as if something in your life is still missing? Or maybe you have just given up going to church altogether, thinking it has nothing to offer you.
You need to discover what Paul did–that all our outward religious activity (or lack of) can never replace a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Philippians 3:10-12).
Paul finally discovered (much like David and Martha did) that only one thing would bring him the peace and joy and power that he sought in his life: knowing Jesus.
Religion won’t cut it. Church attending, Bible toting, committee serving, and pew sitting will leave you cold and empty–right where Satan wants you to be. But a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ will satisfy every longing of your heart, even as it leads you to self-sacrifice and turning from sin. That’s the secret Paul found.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).
Do you want to have peace with God and be able to walk through your life with joy, even in the midst of trials? Are you tired of striving and never being satisfied? Are you sick of relationships that leave you alone and broken? If you will seek the one thing that really matters–a personal relationship with Jesus Christ–you can rest in His presence and enjoy His fellowship.
How can you have this relationship? By simply acknowledging your sin before God and coming clean. That’s what we all really want anyway. We think we want to enjoy sin for a little while, but we really want to be clean. We really desire to come before God and lay it all down and walk away.
Humble yourself before the Lord of all and submit to His authority. He will lift you up and shower you with love and mercy and grace. Believe by faith that He is who He says He is and surrender all that you think you are. Spend time getting to know Him through His Word. Then join with some other true believers who just want to run this race with passion and grace.
I know a few. 🙂