Psalm 16:11 says, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” The Bible is very plain that the only ultimate longing of the human heart is a relationship with God. In fact, empty religious ritual or even fervent service in ministry will not satisfy the soul. And of course, indulging in anything the world promises will satisfy never will. The only true soul satisfaction comes from cultivating our relationship with God through Christ, and this must be attended to regularly so that our joy can remain full.
I am just amazed at how easy it is for us as Christians to forsake our first love, as the Bible-believing, knowledge-saturated church at Ephesus did (Revelation 2:4). They knew all the right theology, and they were very committed to doing ministry and the work of the church. Yet they lost the essence of their being, purpose, and joy. No amount of work in Jesus’ name can satisfy the soul unless it is done enjoying the presence of Jesus all the while. It is in His presence, says Psalm 16:11, that we have fullness of joy. We will experience this perfectly when we see Him face to face in heaven, but for now, the best way to experience the presence of Christ is to spend time in prayer and in His Word. As we let the Holy Spirit convict our hearts, teach us, lead us, and comfort us according to the Word of God, we can truly live as Christ intended us to live.
John 17:3 says, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Knowing Jesus is where life is found, life that will last eternally. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Having life that is everlasting and that is maxed out with joy, purpose, and satisfaction comes always and only from knowing and enjoying Jesus. Faith in the work of Christ on our behalf accompanied by repentance from sin is how eternal life is entered into. The challenge then, as believers, is to continue to walk in and live in the reality of abundant life.
So often we let ourselves get frustrated with the events of the day, the difficulties of life, and the temptations we daily face. We can get discouraged or worn out, particularly if and when we try to carry the load ourselves. When we feel the pressures of life and from the devil closing in around us, we must go to Jesus. He is always there, His line is never busy, and He desires to be our strength. We must go to Him in prayer when life becomes too hard to handle, casting our anxieties and burdens upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30), if only we would let Him take up our cause and take the weights off our shoulders. Christianity is ultimately about knowing a Person, a Person Who loves us more than any other and Who is Himself God. No one can help us more, understand us better, or comfort us more effectively than Him. When we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). This process of drawing near as we pray, meditate on His Word, and let God have access to the entirety of our hearts and minds, is the key to enjoying the Living water (John 4:11, 7:38) of Christ that enables us to never thirst again.
As Christians, we have the right as children of God to have eternal, abundant life, and if we lack this, it is not God Who is to blame but us. If we feel confused, off course, lacking joy, or losing our hope, we need to slow down, hit the “pause button” on life, and spend time with Christ. We must come to Him with our hearts open, and we need to tell Him what is true and what we feel. He already knows, so there is no point in dancing around the truth. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, He will give us wisdom if we ask, and He will refresh our soul. Our hearts will be purified, our minds will be clarified, and our wills will be strengthened. Our emotions will be regulated, and our hopes will be regained. God will make His will clear to us as we apply His Word to our lives with the help of His Spirit. Then we will know what to do, how to do it, and we will have joy in the process. Only Jesus ultimately satisfies.