My opinion doesn’t really matter. How I feel often leads to poor judgement. My assumptions are often wrong. My moods frequently show I am just tired and not experiencing some wrong inflicted on me from others. My desires will never be satisfied if they are most important.
So, what is the alternative? You may think that everyone you know runs on emotions, opinions, moods, and desires. These things are paramount and attention grabbing and often praised and idolized. But it is a dead end. Instead, we make God our ultimate concern.
We have to reckon with our moods, feelings, and desires; acknowledge them; make sense of them; but we can’t be ruled by them. Why? Because there are as many opinions as there are people and emotions make terrible masters and human desire can never be satisfied if they are the driving point of our life.
God gives us feelings, moods, and desires so that we can ultimately find our assurance and peace within his Son. We remain dissatisfied because only Christ brings eternal life, satisfaction, and peace. Our anger and annoyance and lack of contentment can be used by God to show us what is not right in the world or ourselves but sometimes it just shows us how far we need to go spiritually and in our level of trust and assurance in Christ.
Paul tells a small church and us 2,000 years later, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.” Garbage, he says.
Jesus said that he came so that we can have life and have it more abundantly. That abundant life starts now but only if we are willing to die to ourselves, including our wayward desires, emotions, and preferences. In Dallas Willard’s words, “Deny your self and follow Christ, or deny Christ and follow your self. Those are the options. The results? Saving our lives or losing it, ‘For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.’ If we are going to follow Christ and gain our real life, we must take up our own cross.”
This is a hard truth and sounds agonizing but I have found it to be true. The times when I am on the throne and making what I want central to everything, including my happiness, then I always crash and burn. But, when I make Christ the center of my life and place my self at his feet and seek to serve him and him alone then I begin to taste God’s sufficiency and contentment.
Think about the great men and women of Christian history and the Bible. Did any of these saints miss out on the great provisions of God? Was their life lacking? Hear me right, their lives were often difficult, burdensome, and even tragic but it was not lacking spiritually. There was and is joy, strength, and peace that comes in a life given over to God that no circumstantial hardship can erase.
Our desires, moods, opinions and emotions will only lead to misery if they are given too much power. So, put to death these things that run the world and often run our lives and put on the new life found in Jesus and make him your ultimate concern. This is life and this is contentment.