Each one of us is longing to live a life that feels fulfilled. A child loves to see the smile on their parent’s face when they clean up their toys…its gives them a sense of fulfillment or satisfaction. On the contrary if a child does not obey their parents then there is a frown and deep down in their heart the child is unhappy, unfulfilled. As a child I often helped my teacher after school and I can vividly remember the sense of happiness I felt when all was cleaned up and swept in the classroom and my teacher happily thanked me. After several times of cleaning she would give me a book and I would go home fulfilled…happy…content. And yet for me as well as others this drive doesn’t end when we become adults. Just take time and observe yourself and other people going through their daily lives and you will see this drive for a sense of fulfillment. Some try to find it in their work, some in their spouse or kids, some in the approval of their parents, some in their money, some in the smiles of others, and still others seem to give up because they can’t find it at all. Everyone is craving this sense of fulfillment and especially I think those who have had or presently do have trouble in their lives. And sadly, many run this race to their graves.
What happens then when a person is awakened by the grace of God to a sense of who they are? Does this desire change? One now sees sin and guilt. All the things in which one tried to find fulfillment are now not able to even partially fill this need. Often one then tries to please God by ‘doing’ the right things: reading, prayer, proper church attendance, being kind to others, etc. This may work for a time but ends up futile as well.
For myself I especially lived a life of trying to ‘feel’ fulfilled often by trying to please others and yet through the years have learned that apart from Christ it is a futile effort. Nothing or no one on this earth can give us true fulfillment. Why are so many (even of God’s children) trying to live according to the smiles and frowns of other people…it is worthless, it is empty. Our money often flees from us; our spouse will never fill all our “needs”; our children disappoint us; our career can come to a screeching halt; our bodies begin to break down and we are left empty, unfulfilled and feeling like a nobody. I found an interesting quote by Thomas à Kempis in which he says, “He has great tranquility of heart who cares neither for the praises nor the fault-finding of men. He will easily be content and pacified, whose conscience is pure. You are not holier if you are praised, nor the more worthless if you are found fault with. What you are, that you are; neither by word can you be made greater than what you are in the sight of God.”
Ultimately then that is all that matters, what we are in the sight of God. I have learned and every day am learning to look away from this world and the things it contains as a means of fulfillment and I can testify it’s the difference between being a slave or a free person…