The modern world runs on the philosophy which states that we should Never Settle for anything less than what we deserve. That’s the motto of every tech company as well as what they higlight when launching their ‘new and improved’ version of the same device, hoping to make an impression on their potential consumers. In the corporate world, attaining a level of satisfaction is labelled as complacency. Basically, if one is satisfied with what they have or where they are in life, they will be made to feel like a fool, like someone who does not know how life works nor the uncertainties that the future holds.
What Defines Us
We also apply this rule to our personal goals and sometimes even to our relationships as we never want to settle on mediocrity and keep desiring for something more. People believe that it is our possessions that define us. Carrying the latest phones and gadgets, buying a house in a good school district, our jewels and clothing and the car that we drive, all seemingly sends out invisible signals about us. The thirst to push above our weights and always portray ourselves as more than what we are in reality, drives within us the need to keep updating our gadgets, wardrobes and even homes based on the society we want to join or on what the new job demands of us. Some feel they need promotions year after year as it gives them a purpose, a goal to aim for, even a reason to get up in the morning. Some parents desperately need that reason when they plan to have more kids just because they feel that the dependence of their children on them is diminishing.
In every aspect of our life, our wants are never satiated. However, there is one relationship where we feel that we have achieved our satiation point and feel content. When it comes to our relationship with our Creator, we are quick to reach our satisfaction levels. While we live in the ways of this world, we feel more is better but with regards to our relationship with God, we have come to believe that less is more. Once we attend Sunday service or weekly Bible study, we feel satisfied and do not seek God anymore throughout the week. Every month, after giving our allotted percentage of income to the church, we are satisfied and use the remainder of our income to try and satisfy our never-ending thirst for materialistic desires.
Even in the Bible, we look for ways to attain property in heaven but ignore the words that teach us to come closer to the creator of heaven.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21
Chasing after the materialistic possessions is not new to the modern world but the forefathers of Israel also struggled to control the desires as they were overpowered by the ways of this world. Abraham’s ambitious nephew Lot was not satisfied with the blessing God had poured out on him and ventured out to fulfil the desires of his heart. Abraham himself did not trust God’s plan for his family and took decisions that would have seemed like the obvious choice to the ancient world around him.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.1 John 2:15-16
Even when building something for God we can go overboard with the details and forget the purpose of our mission. Solomon spent seven years ornately building his temple but those were the days when he was drifting apart from God as well. He wasted his time and energy on something that did not last forever and forgot about the most important source of sustenance for his life. Even the second temple builders during the time period of Ezra & Nehemiah did the same, where they were more consumed in building the house of God than having a relationship with Him.
Our overzealous attitude in doing God’s work can also separate us from God. We become so engrossed in building the community around us to worship God but creating neverending targets. We don’t spend time with the community but we spend hours on end in making the community better. Peter, in his overzealousness, misunderstood God’s will for his life and had to be brought back on track several times.
Why are we satisfied with God but not with the worldly things?
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
Our thoughts are shaped by the people around us and we, in turn, become materialistic like them. Remember our school days when our mothers would keep telling us to mingle with the good students. A tried and tested formula of human behaviour is that we will emulate those around us. Like the good students were a positive influence on us, the people we have chosen around us can influence our desires to some extent. However, if we walk with Jesus every day, His Spirit influences us and changes the desires of our hearts.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.Matthew 6:24
While Christians today proudly proclaim that they don’t worship idols, the biggest idols in our lives are the invisible desires crippling us from having a relationship with our Father. We can watch a movie for hours on end that does not even have a plot, just to complete something that we have started. But we do not show the same desire or will when we pick up a book from the Old Testament for our daily meditation and end up giving it up halfway through.
The desire for the things of the world is what kept the rich young man from coming closer to God. At the same time, Zacchaeus entered the kingdom of God as soon as he left his past desires at the feet of Jesus. We can only truly come closer to God when we forsake the desires of this world and decide for ourselves what gives us satisfaction. We must ask ourselves do we really have no other gods before our God or is God only an afterthought for us, an insurance policy we take in order to safely enjoy the things of this world.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,Isaiah 55:2
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Jesus is the bread that not only satisfies our hunger but also provides us with the overwhelming joy that nothing else in our lives can bring. We must keep growing in our relationship with Him and Never Settle for anything less than the plans He has for us.