Recently, a brother-in-Christ approached me and asked me to pray for him because he was battling with a sense of not fulfilling his potential. He believed that while he knew God was providing, he felt that he could be doing so much more. I told him that was a man thing.
God has wired men to be hunter-gatherers and we always have a sense of needing to provide for our family. If that sense leaves a man, that is usually a sign of spiritual sickness. However, the longing for more can simply be idolatry, but in many men, it is a longing to do more for the Lord and for his family.
I told my friend that I would be praying for him and I gave him some things to pray about when these feelings arise. First, let the Lord know how grateful you are for His provision no matter your station in life. The Apostle Paul gives even better advice:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:11-12)
I shared with my friend that I knew exactly how he felt. I often contemplate where I would be had my plans been fulfilled as I saw them. I shared with him how our church searched for two years to find a music minister, not understanding why it was so difficult to find the right man. Little did we know that God had chosen the young man, but when we began our search he was a junior in college.
I told him at times I feel the Holy Spirit telling me to “leave the dial alone; the channel it’s on is the right one.” Our Lord knows our heart and its desires, but He desires that we be surrendered to Him, desiring His righteousness and plans for our life:
“He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.” (Psalm 145:19)
As I ponder our conversation, I’m thankful my friend approached me because I realize that I suffer from this spiritual malady more often than not. I call it a spiritual malady because it can cause anxiety, restlessness, and eventually idolatry. This emotion can bring a sense of dissatisfaction to our lives instead of acknowledging the goodness of God.
The remedy for this is to count our many blessings and to name them one-by-one. Sound familiar? I’ve share this with you before, but when we find ourselves in a situation where we wonder if this is all there is to life, we should get out a piece of paper and right down as many blessings we can remember that God has bestowed on us.
The benefit of this exercise is not to have a ready-made list to refer to whenever we have feelings of dissatisfaction (although that is a good by-product). The real treasure in this is we are now preparing our hearts to allow the Holy Spirit to do a work of spiritual growth in us that we would not be prepared for otherwise. Notice this promise from Isaiah:
“The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)
Marketers are trained in making you feel unsatisfied. Commercials tells us we deserve more, that we can afford that which we know we cannot nor need. They cater to our most base desires, working hard to overcome generations of tradition and teachings of being satisfied with what the Lord provides.
It is not wrong to work hard to provide for your family and then reaping the benefits. The Bible promises that we will be rewarded for honest work. However, it must not become an obsession to have and get more; not at the expense of the more important and eternal things. I’ll leave you with my life verse as a reminder to myself:
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
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Copyright © 2017 David Jeffers