Recently someone said to me, “I just wanted that magic potion. I wanted this to be the answer. I wanted the same benefits that I read everyone else was experiencing. I wanted to feel perfect.” How often do we feel that way? We see the results someone else is experiencing from a certain program, diet or exercise plan and we think we should be just as lucky. That way of thinking is dangerous on a number of levels. We learned in the first two parts of this series about the fruitless pursuit of earthly perfection and the illinspired motivation of such a pursuit. God has made us needy, wanting, longing, desiring of Him. Yet, we do all we can to fill up that void with things we find more satisfying at the time - more immediately pleasing in our culture of instant gratification. The thing is, we are never satisfied, nor will we EVER be. All of these temporary fixes will fall short. Every. Single. Time. The void will never be filled.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11
If we truly believe that the Lord will satisfy our needs we have the capacity to feel filled up - to be quenched. Our seemingly endless, toilsome job of depriving ourselves of all things carbs, exercising 5-6 days per week, logging our daily steps, writing down everything that went into our mouths, and drinking only water - all to be defeated when we step on the scale at the end of the week - will be OVER. Instead, after asking Jesus to guide your thoughts and actions in regards to exercise and eating healthy, you will find delight in your morning stretching routine, feel invigorated after an evening brisk walk, be proud of your methodically planned out running regime and be giving glory to God while being a reverent steward of your body. Exercising and being intentional with eating are all God-pleasing habits, given the correct motive and first filling up with Jesus.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
But all too often, you and I forget to put Jesus first. We forget when we read a magazine article explaining the top five exercises for toned thighs. We forget when we read a blog describing the top ten daily habits of productive people. We forget when we get asked by our friends to go out for dinner. We forget when we get a call from your child's school enlisting volunteers for the upcoming book fair. We forget when we sign ourselves up for photography lessons at the local community center. We forget in the everyday; in the folding of laundry, in the washing of dishes, in the cleaning up the messes or in the maintaining of the garden. These things are not evil or need to be avoided all together. I just ask you to check yourself. Are you doing all of the aforementioned things in an effort to keep yourself busy? Would you rather be running around all of the time than being still and at rest, alone with your thoughts? Are you desperately clinging to anything to help you feel full - feel content? Are you trying to fill that emptiness with busyness? Everything is an empty filler.
Everything except Jesus. Jesus promises to remain in you. He promises to satisfy you and complete you.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4
There is truth and love and peace and hope in seeking Jesus first. The extra things that come as a result of seeking Jesus first are spectacular.