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I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
if only...Read Now
By Yodit Kifle Smith
If we are to ever understand why God gives us the instructions that He does in His Word, I truly believe that it begins with trusting that as our Creator, He knows us better than we know ourselves. So, when He instructs us to not find any other satisfaction and security in anything other than Him, He knows how He created our hearts to rest. But of course, with the condition of sin that plagues us, we tend to learn the hard way.
For example, how many times have we said “if only [fill in the blank]” and then we received that [fill in the blank] only to find our hearts restless by what we thought would satisfy, so we add another “if only” to the latter? I can admit for myself that I've been here too many times to count.
I’ve learned it to be a vicious cycle that reveals how quickly discontent (and deceptive) the heart is and can be. Having been held hostage to this vicious cycle, overtime, God has helped me see a couple of things with the disposition of my heart that perpetuated this cycle:
1. I’ve convinced myself that somehow God is more good “there” in the “if only” than He is “here” in the “even if.”
Discontentment doesn’t like the present moment. It deceives us into thinking that any other moment is better and so we respond by thinking God is “more good” in the asks of our “if only” more than the reality of our present reality.
2. I am measuring God’s goodness to me not based on solely His identity but in my circumstances, which then makes me look at God like He is unstable (which He is not!), which then makes me unstable.
God is not man that He should lie and so when He tells us that He is good and His love is steadfast and everlasting, we must believe Him. But if we only believe Him when it benefits us because of the good we’ve deemed, then we make him out to be a liar. God is good, always. Our journey of sanctification with Him is to constantly repent and surrender our definition of good for His.
3. I am interjecting myself in God’s sovereignty because of my finite ability to even see what tomorrow holds let alone my “if only” request. Never good to assume.
We, of course, know that we are not God, but sometimes our actions like to assume that role. When we are constantly living in discontentment, we are inadvertently thinking that the “if only” we seek will be the answer to the way we desire to see our lives.
4. I deceive myself when I think that the “if only” will make me “truly” content. Unless my heart is content in the Lord and His fullness, no new anything will satisfy.
He created us to find our worth and our deepest thirst in Him. Seeking anything else is to live below the way He intended and to constantly be thirsty (John 4:13-14).
5. The ability to say “even if” is the work of the Holy Spirit in me. And He is the One who can help me be a good steward of my current place and see God’s goodness & purposes in it.
Our present moment may genuinely not be the best. However, the genuine answer isn’t found solely in another circumstance but first and foremost, in the disposition of a heart rooted in the love of God and the faith He gives to believe that He is with us. As our heart surrenders to His love, His sovereignty, and His goodness, we will seek Him instead of seeking another thing to satisfy us. That’s the good work He does in us.
Beloved, NOTHING else has the ability or power to satisfy us the way our Creator intended for us to be satisfied no matter how hard we want it to. We may learn it the hard way, but when we do, there is truly MUCH rest for the soul.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Questions to Reflect on:
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