Take up and read

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

This last Sunday, my pastor’s sermon (with related blog entry) emphasized the importance of taking a studious, disciplined approach to Scripture reading. He spoke about the need for Christians to be aware of how we often take scripture out of context or even attribute particular sayings or ideas to Scripture (e.g., the lord helps those who help themselves). Also mentioned was our responsibility to discern false and deceptive teachings. Finally, he spoke of an almost spiritual dialectic (without using the word), in which even if our reading creates doubts within us, that this is no reason to stop, but rather to use the power of those doubts to drive us further into Scripture. And even should each answer result in a new question, the process will only press us closer to God as it drives us deeper into the Bible.

All of this sounds great, except for the fact that I believe it poor advice for the majority of those who heard it as well as for most Christians in general. I think it is an easy mistake to make, though, especially for someone like a pastor, whose job and spiritual duty is to study the Scripture and to reconceptualize it for each new generation. The mistake is to slip into the thinking that your spiritual duty is everyone elses, forgetting that this particular aspect is related to your role in the community.

This wouldn’t be such a problem if it weren’t for the specialized nature of the task being given. Not everyone has the intellectual, tempermental, and dare I say spiritual, gifts for the effort of systematically analyzing Scripture (or any other text for that matter). I think it is probably safest to give this advice to those who merely lack the intellectual tools to carry on such an endeavor with any success. They will take the advice to heart, but will likely not do much more than what they are already doing, or at least no more than they ought to do, which is to read Scripture in a devotionally, not analytically.

No, the real danger is for those who have the mental capacity, but lack the temperment, or perhaps worse, the spiritual gift, for such an exercise. There are two very real risks involved with these people attempting to carry out my pastor’s advice. The first, and more benign of the two, is that they will arrive at conclusions that do not fit with the teaching of their church’s ministry. This will result in either the forment of conflict within the community or else the loss of the individual to another, like-minded, church. This is what I would call the risk to the community. When isolated to a few individuals, it poses little threat to medium to large communities, although to smaller churches it can cause a critical loss in lay leadership.

The second danger is the hazard presented to the individual, in precisely the situation he described with the spiritual dialectic. For if the individual lacks the temperment to be secure enough in his faith to handle the rigors of exposing and re-exposing his beliefs to critical analysis, there is a real possibility that enough of these beliefs will be weakened that a sort of final straw is reached, and the whole belief structure collapses irrepairably. These people are likely already in an emotionally or socially unstable situation, and so lack the resources to withstand such a prolonged assault on their beliefs.

This, I believe, is exactly what occurred with my own loss of faith. I began my analysis of Scripture and Faith as a spiritual exercise, striving after the heart and mind of God. But without the emotional and social stability necessary to ground me in my faith, I was not long until I transitioned from one community to another as my conception of the Faith developed. This continued until at last I came to a point where everything I had come to believe was suddenly found to be without foundation and the collapse sucked me into a vortex that took the rest of my religious beliefs with it.

So, what should be done? We should not have expectations that everyone can undertake a systematic analysis of Scripture. This is really only the purvey of a select minority, and most of these are likely be engaged in some form of individual study of the bible already without further prompting. For others, devotional reading should be encouraged, and if study is desired, it should be done in a structured group setting with some sort of leadership oversight. Theological questions and doubts should be brought forward either in this kind of group context if relatively mild, or else in more intimate counsel with someone in a pastoral role if it proves to be a severe difficulty.

Additionally, it is not the responsibility of the laity to develop intellectual defenses against heresy, nor is it their role to interpret the Bible beyond what could be accomplished with a naive reading. This is what teachers and pastors are for. Those who are not teachers and pastors are, under most circumstances, supposed to accept instruction and allow it to inform their reading of Scripture. Which isn’t to say that they aren’t reading, they surely should be, but what is not called for is a sort of intensive intellectual performance in the reading. As for the Berean passage, their nobility was not necessarily in their studious manner, but in their willingness to entertain the Gospel, in contrast to the Thessalonians rejection of it.

Sermon 4/19/09

iLife
Part 5: iServe
Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I believe that when we look at cultural icons, it isn’t about what they do or what they are known as, but it is about their passion and determination for what it is they excel at. We are called by God to be like Christ, to worship, do mission, disciple, and serve. It is not as though our lives are divided up amongst these activities, but rather that our whole life is to be devoted to worship, to missions, to discipleship, and to service. It is only in these things that we will find our life’s purpose. This is what we are created for. We are not created just to be redeemed and brought to heaven, but we are created for good works, for the service that God has prepared for us. The objective of preaching about service isn’t to get people to sign up for church programs, but rather to transform the heart from one that serves itself to one that serves others. Honestly, so many of us come to church to serve ourselves, and without this change of heart, it is meaningless what we do for church. We can sign up for as many ministries as we want, but without a right heart, without a servant heart, we cannot succeed.

So, what is a servant heart? It is a compassionate heart, compassion for people, and a humble heart. You read about Jesus performing miracles and ministering, but you never see him act out of a sense of duty, but always as an act of compassion. You need to serve not because you feel obligated to serve. There are so many circumstances that make us feel obligated, personal relationships or observed needs. But without compassion, it will only be a burden, and not an act of love and devotion, both toward Christ and to your fellow Christians. If we act out of love, God will work through us and in us. Without love, we are doing it on our own, and will eventually tire and become weary of the task. But with love, we act in step with God, and he will empower us to serve others so that we can accomplish more than we ever could on our own, and the act will be a joy. If it is obligation, the people we serve will eventually become an obstacle to our ministry, but if it is compassion, then the people will be the ministry, and you will be patient and love them. A servant heart is a heart that motivates you to serve people no matter who they are or what they do.

A servant heart is putting ourselves lower than others. The disciples had argued about who was the greatest among them. But Jesus answered them, whoever wants to be first must be the last and the servant of all. We must be the last with our best. A person who will put their best as last, to the service of all, will be willing to employ their talent for whatever the need will be, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us. There is no insignificant ministry. And there are no insignificant people. We can easily serve the people we respect, who can pay us back, who we like and enjoy their company. But what about the people who seem lower than us, who lack the resources to recompense our effort, and with whom we have difficulty relating to. There are people all around us that we don’t see, that we don’t have time for.

Matthew 5:44-47

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Trust that there will be moments when your service will be taken for granted, criticized, even rejected. But if you are operating with a servant heart, you will not give up, for your heart will be for them, even as Christ’s heart pursues us, even when we are his enemy. There will be tribulation in ministry, but as you persevere, you will not only overcome these obstacles, but you will learn the heart of God. And we will have taken up our cross and followed after our Lord.

Sermon 4/12/09

ilife
Part 4: iMission
John 20:1-9

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

Acts 1:1-8

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Mission is all about telling people who do not know what we know. There is no other qualification than this, that you know God. For God has called each of us to go and testify about God, for we are witnesses of Christ. Consider the Samaritan woman at the well, or Mary returning from the empty tomb. Their witness is all that was required in order for them to go and tell others.

On this Easter Sunday, we are to recall the sacrifice Christ bore and his victory over death, and this is the message that we are all to carry to the ends of the earth. We, every one of us, is called of God to be a missionary, to evangelize. We don’t need a special certificate or go over seas. To often, when we think of missions, we think of an event, or a special calling, something distant from us. But each of us is called, right where we are, to bring the good news of Christ to everyone we meet.

When we hear something exciting, or shocking, we can’t help but go and tell others, who will tell their friends in turn. This is the power of being a witness, it empowers us to share it with others. As you draw near to God and soak yourself in his word and love, you can’t help but go and tell others of the good news that we have seen. We fill ourselves with the passion of God, and this passion will overflow and pour out to those around us. When we think of power, we usually think of some kind of supernatural manifestation, but there is no greater power than in knowing Jesus Christ as your savior and lord.

The passage today also speaks of being a witness. The first thing Jesus did after coming back from death, he speaks to his disciples, telling them that as the Father has sent him, so he now sends the disciples. God blesses us so that he can send us out has his witnesses. He has given us a new life so that we can share the good news with those who do not have the new life yet. And with that, he then breathed upon the disciples, telling them to receive the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to experience what we have not physically experienced, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. How do we know of Christ’s victory over sin and death? Though it happened 2000 years ago, we know it because the Holy Spirit makes it real in our hearts.

Mission isn’t about the people who go to foreign lands, but for all of us. Jesus first command to be witnesses was to go to Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth. Missions has to start with where we are, our own neighborhood and city. In fact, it is more challenging, since these people will know us, will see us on a day to day basis, and our witness will not just be our words, but our lives have to represent the message of Christ too.

Too many of us have nice, organized lives. We devote a little time to Sunday worship, a little time to charity, a little time to missionary work or evangelism. Everything is balanced, everything has an appointed place and time. But God doesn’t want to be part of our life, he wants all of it. He wants his message to be our life, and not just something we do on occasion or when time permits. Instead of starting our thinking with all nations, look around you. Look at the people around you, are not all nations here, with us. There are people from around the world, right here where we live, even as on Pentecost Jews from around the world had gathered. This was no accident, but it was God’s plan to reach out to all the world in this way. The United States has a similar opportunity for ministry. As in the early church, we have a language that is used for international commerce and communication, we have people from all nations coming here to us, for a number of reasons, each particular to the individual, but at the same time, it is all in accordance with the plan of God.

God is working to bring the nations to us, and we need to wake up to his plan, to make mission our life. And this will open doors to go beyond this. But our neighbor, our own city, this is the door, this is where God has called us to begin, and through this, God shall evangelize the whole world. We need to prepare ourselves to nurture and disciple people of all nations. We need to move beyond our own needs and our own comfort, to break through these barriers and seize the opportunities that God has given us. Each of us is called to live a life of mission. We only have this opportunity in this life. Unlike other responsibilities as a Christian, we cannot do missions in heaven. As people who have have the power of witness, we have to be responsible for this privilege and go and tell others, everywhere we go. Make your home a mission field, your work, your neighborhood. Pray for the people you meet every day: for your neighbors, your coworkers, your family and friends. Allow Christ to show you the mission field right before your eyes, and act upon the power of witness.

Sermon 4/5/09

ilife
Part 3: iDisciple

Romans 8:19;
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

What does it mean to be a disciple? The most common word used to describe disciples is a follower of Christ. But a different definition might be the people who are striving to become true Christians. Too often, “Christian” is just a label, describing the social or cultural views. We have this false hierarchy that disciples are a level above ordinary Christians, but this is backwards, the disciple is striving to become Christian, Christ-like. In the early church, people were called Christians because they emulated the life of Christ, but today, people pass for Christians by simply attending church in a semi-regular fashion.

But saying that you are a Christian, you are claiming to represent Christ in your life, and you will be judged by this claim. We must have the same attitude, the same mind, that was in Jesus Christ. That is who Christians are. And what is that attitude? Self denial is one of the characteristics of Jesus. Another is humility, that he humbled himself to the point of hanging on the cross. And finally, obedience to the will of the Father. All of it is bound together in self sacrifice, a life that gives itself up for the benefit of others.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

This is what Christians need to look like, that we are crucified with him, that we die to our pleasures and desires, our preferences, and that we are resurrected in Christ, that he would be the main driver of our life. Will you let Jesus take that position in your life. And as we become Christ like, we draw closer not only to him, but to each other, and in the framework of Christ-likeness, we shall become more and more unified. Unity only happens when people humble themselves and adopt the mind of Christ.

As long as we have this same mind, as long as we are in tune with the will of God in obedience and worship, he will show you the way to live your life. How far do we take all of this, the humility, obedience, and self denial? It can only be done through the Holy Spirit. A bible study can’t change you, coming to church can’t do it. Only God can accomplish it, for it is God who works in you to will and do his good purpose for our life, to fulfill his destiny for our life.

Colossians 1:27
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Pentecost was that turning point. It wasn’t about people making strange noises or ecstatic behavior, but it was the transformation of lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, Peter was bold enough to stand before the crowds and preach the gospel of Christ. And when the Holy Spirit brings to your attention some area that must be changed, our only response must be obedience to the call, lest we grieve the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:22-26
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Can you honestly say now that you are a Christian, that you are striving to become like Christ each day, to develop this character that Christ wants us to have. Christian isn’t a label that defines your current status, but marks the goal of your life, what you are striving towards. If you say that you are a Christian, but your lifestyle does not reflect this truth, then you must reconsider your claim, for you have somehow deceived yourself, for while your mouth says that he is lord and savior, your behavior speaks another truth, that you have still retained control of your life. There is no one who has achieved perfection in this life, but our goal is to always move towards it, to never be contented with where we are. The goal must be Jesus Christ.

The coming week is the Passion week, and as we remember the trials of Christ leading up to the victory of Easter morning, try to abstain from gratifying your carnal desires, and take up the challenge that Christ has presented us in this period, and focus on the humility and self denial of Jesus. Let us use this week to remind us of not only where we are in our life, but what the goal of this life is, and to renew our commitment to this destination, to continue to become Christian.

Sermon 3/22/09

iLife

Part 1: iWorship

Are you being transformed by the worship you partake? Worship does not transform people. It does not cause people to transform. God transforms people. It is obedience in response to God that brings us into true worship. Our worship is not completed until we obey what we heard in that worship.

Isaiah 43:21, “the people which I formed for myself, that they might set forth my praise.”

We are designed to praise. It isn’t about music or singing. That is the tradition that has developed, but praise is responding to God, to who he is, and giving him the acclimation and thanksgiving that he deserves. God created us to give him the praise he deserves. Is that too selfish of God? Parents don’t have children so they can have people to serve them. They have children to love them and in response, the children love them back. But God didn’t say he was creating robots, rather he has created us so that he can reveal himself to us, his mercy and love, and in response, we shall praise him. It is not a forced act, but a natural response to the greatness of who God is.

John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Not everyone can worship God, but only those who are spiritually in tune, justified, can worship God. And God is the truth, and he wants to reveal his truth through the worship. We come to church every Sunday, and each experience of worship is different, because our circumstances are different. But we are forgetting one very important thing about worship. God never changes. We can come to the service with sorrow or joy, but the way God has revealed himself has not changed, his love for you has not changed, and whatever is untrue shall disappear in worship. There are different styles of worship, different songs, perhaps without music, but whatever we do, we must focus on who it is we worship, and his eternal goodness.

There is no yesterday, today and tomorrow for God, for he is the Lord of time. It doesn’t matter that you have failed in the past. God can forgive you. It doesn’t matter that the world judges you a failure. God is the creator of the world. He is beyond everything you see and feel and experience. We need to experience that God in our worship. Not just in an hour service on Sunday, but throughout our lives. Do you want your worship to transform your life? Is it changing your life? If you want this, then you have to make worship your life. Not just a part of your life, not just a Sunday event, or a Wednesday event. It has to be carried to all parts of your life, to your work, to your family, to every point. Without this, your worship is in vain, for it is not touching where you are. But when you live out worship, when you live out the experience of God and the truth about him, you shall be transformed.

Consider Abraham, a man of faith. You can see that he had a deep, intimate relationship with God.

James 2:21, “Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?”

Wherever Abraham went, he built an alter to worship the Lord. We see this again and again throughout Genesis. And finally he offered up his son on that alter of worship. Listen to what he said, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go yonder. We will worship, and come back to you.” Unlike Abraham, we only worship God when things are well for us, or when we need something. But Abraham built alters wherever and whenever. It did not matter how much it cost him. When your job is on the line, when your health is in danger, are you willing to build an alter and worship the Lord?

Again, look upon David. As he watched his livestock, alone and far from all, he worshiped the Lord. As a fugitive, he worshiped, calling the Lord his shield and declaring his trust in him. As he was fleeing Saul, without a place to sleep, he praised the Lord. As a warrior, he praised the Lord for his talents. And as a king, he exulted the Lord as king of the earth, and proclaimed his rule to be everlasting. No matter where he was, no matter what the situation, he worshiped the Lord. Even as king, he danced and sung before the ark of the Lord, without regard to his own reputation or dignity. He cared not who saw, so long as he could worship the Lord. He appointed worshipers to continually be before the Lord, 288 Levities skilled in music to worship the Lord continuously.

In your own personal life with God, wouldn’t it be amazing to continually worship the Lord? It seems impossible, doesn’t it. But as you make worship not just part of your life, but all of your life, then even in your sleep you will find yourself in prayer and worship to God. God wants to spend time with us. He has initiated this time of communion, we just need to tune into him.

How can we do this? The first thing we must do is be willing to make worship the whole of our life and not just a part. Don’t wait for favorable circumstances, but make that commitment now, and move to make the necessary changes in your life. It is important to worship in times of celebration. Birthdays, weddings, a new home. These are the moments of worship. Give glory to God for the good he has bestowed upon your life. As family and friends gather to celebrate with us, we must direct the attention away from us and towards God. Can we give up this recognition, and direct it towards God, to give the glory to God? This is worship.

We need to acknowledge God in these moments of joy, but we must also look to him in our times of sorrow. In grief, we must worship God, and give our life to the Lord. Turn your eyes to where your help comes from, and worship. But if you are not willing to change, to see your life be transformed by the presence of God, then you are not worshiping. If you refuse this, if you have areas in your life that you do not want to have God touch and take possession of, this is an idol, an illicit thing. When you are willing to yield to God’s right, to experience God without any agenda but his, then you will experience true worship. Worship isn’t about what we like or want, but about declaring the truth of God in our complete life. Only when we do that can we say that we have worshiped.

A microphone is only valuable so long as it amplifies the voice. Our life has been given so that through it the truth of God, his person and ways, can be projected into the world and broadcast to the people around us. Do not allow any opportunity to pass you by. Make the important events in your life a worship event. And make the quiet, private time, those moments when you are alone, a time of worship as well. And if you do so, you will be richly rewarded and will know the abundance of the Lord in your life.

Sermon 3/15/09

People God Uses

Pastor Loren Chong
Acts 4:13-22

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled. They recognized that they had been with Jesus. Seeing the man who was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? Because indeed a notable miracle has been done through them, as can be plainly seen by all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we can’t deny it. But so that this spreads no further among the people, let’s threaten them, that from now on they don’t speak to anyone in this name.” They called them, and charged them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves, for we can’t help telling the things which we saw and heard.”

When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for everyone glorified God for that which was done. For the man on whom this miracle of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

Ephesians 4:11-12

He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, shepherds and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, to the work of serving, to the building up of the body of Christ;

It is God’s desire and plan that all of us be engaged in ministry. It is never about just one man. In this passage we find four characteristics exhibited in the people that God wants to use.

The first, is that they were ordinary, but courageous. Peter and John were just ordinary people, fishermen and unlearned, but courageous enough to allow God to use them. The Sanhedrin saw the courage in Peter and John. Some of us hesitate, thinking we are not enough, not enough education, or talent or money or some other deficiency. But the ministry of God is not about us. When we focus on ourselves, we limit God. Rather, keep your eyes on God and trust in his power and not your own abilities.

Consider Moses, God calls him to go back to Egypt and free the Israelites. But Moses answers with a series of objections and reasons for his inability to do what he was called, but God answered that he would provide and would work through him. All we have to do is be responsible to God’s awesome call. When you are responsible, you respond to God’s call and ability. God can turn an ordinary man and use him for extraordinary purposes. Consider the heroes of the faith, David, a shepard, Esther, a foreigner, Abraham, the son of an idolater.

Jesus was constantly surrounded by crowds. Many witnessed miracles, saw the lame healed, tasted the miraculous multiplying of food. But not everyone experienced Jesus at a personal, intimate level. Only those who had drawn near enough to know him could act by faith in him. It is because of that personal, intimate relationship that we can be used. We really need to encounter God on a personal level. 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” Without Christ, we are nothing, with him, we are transformed and empowered to do the will of God. Devote yourself and your time to seeking Christ and a personal encounter with him.

The third characteristic is that they feared God and not man. The Sanhedrin threatened Peter and John, and these two knew that it wasn’t an empty threat, for these are the same men that had Christ crucified, and earlier these leaders had jailed them without trial. Peter and John could have chosen the easy way, but the Apostles knew that they could only harm the body, but that God would rule over their soul. Whom do you fear? Are you pursuing mens applause or God’s approval.

The final mark of a person used by God is that they are passionate for God. Whatever consumes our heart inevitably comes out of our mouth. The Apostles could not keep silent about what they were passionate about. Luke 6:45 – “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.” People make such sacrifices for what they are passionate about, but what sacrifices are we making for Christ? If we are a genuine follower of Christ, we can not be an oxymoron Christian, a lukewarm Christian, a spectator Christian. You are not called to be a consumer Christian or a spectator. Christ tells us to follow him, not simply watch him or watch those who do follow him. For Peter and John, Jesus was not one more thing, he was everything. What consumes you? What requires your energy and time?

Sermon 3/8/09

Is God enough?

Matthew 16:24-26
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?

Philippians 3:8

Yes most assuredly, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them nothing but refuse, that I may gain Christ

We constantly play lip service to the sufficiency of God, and yet continually undermine it through our actions in life, constantly seeking other things to satisfy us. We have this unquenchable desire, and though we try to fill it with various things in this life, these invariably fail us, for they are not eternal, nor are they full. No matter what we try to fill ourselves with, it will invariably run out. We ask God for a bandage, to stop the loss of satisfaction. But God is not in the business of helping us be satisfied with the stuff of this earth, but rather that we ought to be satisfied with him, that we should be saturated, submerged in the presence of God. This is how God is enough. He doesn’t want to fix our problem. He wants to make our concerns obsolete and our problems irrelevant.

That is what it means to be in the presence of God, eternally satisfied in him.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.

Are we truly seeking to be satisfied in Jesus?

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold
I’d rather be his than have riches untold
Id rather have Jesus than houses or lands
I’d rather be led by his nail-pierced hand
Than to be the king of a vast domain
Or be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today