I was looking through some older lessons I had saved in my file. I used to be a fanatical bible student who created lessons from everything I studied. This one was called “Why Do We Continue Sinning?”, but as I reviewed it, I thought it fit another question for those of us dealing with depression: “What the heck am I really looking for?” Obviously, we are all discouraged because something is missing, but rarely can we figure out what that thing is that is causing us these feelings.
There is one section of the study that says, “So, what do we want?” This is what it says:
We think we want things and people: money, power, authority, material goods, relationships, acceptance, admiration, physical pleasure, etc. But these objects are not the end of our goal, they are actually the MEANS to acquiring what we really want.
So what do we really want?
Isa 54:10-17 KJV: For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay they foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee… No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
Isa 55 KJV: Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness…For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace…Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
What we really want is satisfaction, the satisfaction that comes from peace and results in joy. Now, saved and unsaved people want these same things to find satisfaction – peace and joy. However, unsaved people only know the kind of shallow, temporary satisfaction, peace and joy that they can get for themselves through those things we previously mentioned. Fleshly satisfaction is the only kind of satisfaction that we knew for many, many years. We didn’t even know there was any other source for satisfaction, peace and joy. (The Woman at the well did not know there was any other type of water available for her.)
Does God want us to have satisfaction that comes from peace and results in joy? Yes. God created us with a need for those things. Imagine a place where everything is “right with the world” – no more striving, no more stress, you have everything you need when you need it. Do you know the name of that place? The Kingdom of Heaven. Another name for that place is the Kingdom of God, which begins right here on earth. The Kingdom of God is within you, according to Luke 17:21. But what is God’s definition of the Kingdom of God?
Rom 14:17 NKJV: for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Mat 6:31 – 34 NKJV: Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (peace and joy – inserted by Penny) shall be added to you.
We’ve pursued the wrong goals – we’ve pursued the “stuff” and the activities and busy-ness, instead of directly pursuing the peace and joy God offers through this Holy Spirit.
Achieving satisfaction does not come from feeding the fleshly desires, but comes from the peace and joy found only in the Holy Spirit. But notice the first word in the series listed above: righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Notice, the Kingdom of God is not just a matter of peace and joy, it is a matter of righteousness first (remember Matthew 6). What does righteousness have to do with our satisfaction? Jesus said, in Matthew 5:6, that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be filled, or satisfied. And what is righteousness? Hitting the mark of trusting God for all of our needs.
How do you achieve peace, or the absence of struggling and striving? By trusting God for every area of your life.
Isa 26:3 NKJV: You will keep him in perfect peace Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Phil 4:6 NKJV: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.
Once you have the peace of God through trust in Him, the result is joy in the Holy Spirit.
Psa 5:11-12 NKJV: But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
When we do not know the peace that passes understanding, we settle for the peace that comes from satisfying the flesh. (That’s how we spent most of our lives – thinking fleshly satisfaction was all there was.) And we will stop at nothing to satisfy the flesh, including going back to our old habits and mindsets to obtain that temporary satisfaction. I believe that our level of sanctification is in direct proportion to our level of satisfaction.
We will get angry at the things that block our fleshly satisfaction, and dejected and depressed when we fear there is no hope we will ever attain that fleshly satisfaction.
Phil 3:18-20 NKJV: For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame; who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When our desires become the god that we serve, we set our mind on earthly things to satisfy us, and become enemies of the cross of Christ. But when we realize that our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God, we can trust God to provide for all of our need according to His riches in glory. Then we can stop trying to satisfy ourselves outside of God’s will and timing (which is sin), and rest in His love, faithfulness and promises (which is righteousness).
Remember, the perfect peace that comes from the Prince of Peace is in exact opposition to the pseudo peace that comes from satisfying the flesh. The peace of God comes only from faith, or trusting in God. The false peace can only come from sin, or trusting in ourselves to get some kind of satisfaction by our own means.
We will stop sinning when we realize that we cannot possibly satisfy ourselves through anything other than trusting in God and yielding to His Holy Spirit’s leading. We need a transformation of our mindset, where we no longer believe the lie that our flesh can fill our hunger, but understand the truth that peace and joy are the direct result of being right with God and being in the center of His will.
Ouch! I’m preaching to myself. My depression is directly related to my obstinate demand that my flesh and the world (and people in the world) make me feel better, satisfy me and my needs. I actually refuse to abstain from attempting to get my needs met from the world, and then cry to God when I am depressed, when I should be REFUSING to try and get my satisfaction from the world, and simply coming to God to satisfy me.
Oh, I don’t say this is easy. I’m so screwed up most of the time, I don’t even really know what I want, or why I’m feeling the way I feel. However, I know that is why He has stopped me in my tracks this month. I can’t find work. I can’t lose weight. There are no projects for me to do to make myself feel important or valuable or proud. And I can’t eat my way out of it either – I’m on a 30 day fast without meat, dairy or grains, and I have promised to work out for an hour 5 times a week, although I hate it. All I have now is God. And I’d better find a way to be satisfied only in Him – quick.
I don’t have all the answers, I’m just sharing with you the lessons I am learning (or re-learning) as I come to them. I have to make the rubber meet the road somehow. I have to disconnect from my demands of this world and my flesh, and cling solely to God. I can’t see myself doing that, I’m such a carnal Christian right now. I want food to make me feel better, and a project to entertain me and make me feel valuable, or at least see myself lose weight. Pray for me, and share what is going on with you, so I can pray for you. We will find a way through this, to a place on God’s lap, where we can be still and satisfied.