Is God drawing you into dissatisfaction with your life?
Johnny Lee wrote and sang the familiar song Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. His lyrics go like this…
“I spent a lifetime lookin' for you
Single bars and good time lovers were never true
Playing a fools game, hopin' to win
And tellin' those sweet lies and losin' again.
I was lookin' for love in all the wrong places
Lookin' for love in too many faces
Searchin' their eyes, lookin' for traces
Of what I'm dreamin' of
Hoping to find a friend and a lover
I'll bless the day I discover,
Another heart- lookin' for love.
And I was alone then, no love in sight
I did every thing I could to get me through the night
I don't know where it started or where it might end
I'd turn to a stranger just like a friend.
And you came a knockin' at my hearts door
You're everything I've been lookin' for
There's no more lookin' for love in all the wrong places
Now that I found a friend and a lover
God blessed the day I discovered you” http://www.metrolyrics.com/looking-for-love-lyrics-johnny-lee.html
Recently I listened to John Cooper’s message Coming Back to Faith on his Cooper Stuff Podcast.
Similarly to Lee’s song, Cooper states that looking for sustenance in anything other than God is like drinking ocean water when you’re thirsty. The salt in the ocean water leaves you thirstier than you were before. Why? Because Ocean water is dissatisfying and not a source of hydration. Though it looks refreshing…it’ll never satisfy you. You can look to it all you want, but the result will be the same every time.
Cooper points out that struggling in faith is a goodness of God. Think about that…how can it be? Because God is good...and because He's good, this proves that He's not giving up on you. He's continuing to speak into you because He's living in you and drawing you closer to Himself. God is faithfully drawing you to dissatisfaction for a purpose. Drawing you to a place of dissatisfaction, because He wants you to realize that without God, everything is vanity and emptiness. This means He genuinely loves and cares about you, and that He’s not giving up on you. It’s also confirmation that He is residing with you and convicting you…that you need Him and Him alone. Conviction is a good and healthy indicator for something that needs corrected. God is drawing you to repentance. Cooper wisely states that,
“If God has to draw you into dissatisfaction with your life, in order for you to reach out to Him for satisfaction...then that's what He'll do.”
In sharing on his podcast, Cooper wants you to…
Three Certainties from John 16:33
Don (in the middle on the couch) is the former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Grinnell, IA. Someone once asked him what his favorite verse was, and his response was John 16:33. In this verse Jesus states, that “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’” In this passage, Jesus knew that the cross was just ahead of Him. He knew that the phrase “in the world” is just as important to us today as it was in the day of the New Testament. God’s will for us is that we remain in the world, while at the same time being kept from the evil one and his followers. Don shared with us three certainties from John 16:33, of what it means to be in the world.
First certainty…you will have tribulation (it’s inevitable). Don encouraged us to spend some time praying throughout our day. He does so on his walks. On June 14, 2020 Don found out that his wife of 46 years was diagnosed with cancer. Treatment was not an option…it’d already spread throughout her entire body. Five days later she passed away. Don had gone from the top of the world, to having his world shaken. He wasn’t exempt from trials and tribulations. But Don understood the good news, the good certainty that Jesus promises.
Second certainty…you will have peace (it’s available). Peace with God and others is precious. Be in the word. Be in prayer. Be in a relationship with the Lord. You’ll discover a comfort like no other. Stay focused on Him and His peace. He is the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 (ESV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 26:3 (ESV) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Romans 5:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:7 (ESV) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And Lastly…it is certain that joy is possible (this is wonderful). Take heart / be of good cheer…He’s overcome the world.
Acts 5:40-42 (ESV) 40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
Rejoice for being counted worthy to suffer for His Name. God gives us what we need for any situation we face.
2 Peter 1:3 (ESV) His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
Let no one rob you of your joy.
John 16:22 (ESV) So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
James 1:2 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV) “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV) For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Remember, we have it made in Him. Praise God for His Sovereignty.
Additional Reading…Take some time to read all of Romans 8, and then compare that chapter to John 16:33. See any similarities?
Many of you have taken the advantage of my offer of a $40.00 credit toward some Ox Strong gear. I decided to do this for a couple of reasons:
I also might find out about your brand of clothing and taste but I am going to challenge each of you to find your brand of giving. Look, I have said this before and I need to say it again: You don’t need to give money to give. We have heard that people are suffering all over and I can see it in my own town. The suffering of people has been happening since we were invented by God, so we not only have to deal with it, we need to work on fixing it.
Yes, giving is not easy because people are worried that their gift will be wasted or not appreciated. 99.9% of the time you will NOT be burned from giving. You must find the courage to look past your money and belongings and to find the strength of giving. I am not saying you need to hand the keys to your house or your car to a stranger. What I am saying is that you need to embrace the statement, “Give from your heart”. I would also submit to you to not pre-judge people.
What has Ox Strong proved? That you can’t judge a book by its cover!
How many of you have looked at someone and judged how they dress, what they drive, who they are friends with, how much stuff they own, etc.? I would guess many of us have fallen victim to our bad judgement for the same reasons. Have any of you said after an Ox Strong devotion, “Hey I knew about that guy, but I didn’t realize what an incredible person they are.” How many times have you pre-judged someone and just got it wrong? Didn’t you feel ashamed and mad at yourself? Most times, people learn that people that are suffering, really mean it.
Have you ever been injured and thought you were the only one in the world with pain? Have you ever shared your pain with someone and they shared their pain with you, and you suddenly realized you didn’t have it so bad after all, and the person you shared your story with demonstrated what it looks like not to complain with utter courage? Have you ever said, “I am not going to give to that person, because they will just waste it, or they don’t need it.”?
It is fundamental that Ox Strong’s mission reminds men that we are Gods children, that we have been broken, that we will be broken, we will be healed, and we are loved.
But is it just judgment that shields you from giving? Or, is judgment an excuse not to give because you are afraid to part with your money, time, or things? Hey, some of you reading this, are hurting, so do not take my words out of context here because I am praying for you and all our men in this great struggle. We are all going to take a haircut this year, but that doesn’t mean we can provide some sort of recourse to community. After all, our men can do anything!
So please find someone you can help with your brand of giving. That could be a doughnut, getting groceries for a friend, a can of vegetables for the food bank, fixing something at home, an Ox Strong shirt or yes, giving money.
Don’t let your judgment of a person be your excuse or a convenient reason not to give.
God bless our men, our families, and Grinnell.
Sometimes it’s necessary to feed the world physically before you can feed them spiritually. Pray that God will give you ears to hear and eyes to see the needs around you…and then wisely act on the Holy Spirit’s prodding.
New International Version
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
New Living Translation
Here's the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.
English Standard Version
And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.
Michael Jr. mentioned at the Zoe- Mother’s Day Service 2016 that Giving is different than Returning. And then cautioned us to never give out of compulsion or duty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHtEhNxcXbg
Song: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow by Hillsong Worship
So many things around us are constantly changing on a daily basis, which provides the potential to cause anxiety and unrest to rise up in each of us. As a believer in Christ, let me encourage you to find hope and comfort in the following verses…
Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Philippians 4:6-8 (NLT) 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Matthew 24:35 (ESV) Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
If God and His word are unchanging, timeless, and relevant, then wouldn’t it be best to invest your time and efforts in Him and the Bible?
Song: Unchanging God by Elevation Worship
Why do some individuals lack the ability to persevere? Why do they lack character that reflects the image of God? Why do they lack hope?
Could it have anything to do with how one personally approaches and navigates through sufferings and trials?
I understand the idea behind “sheltering” your children, but is it possible that they’re missing out on being able to produce these qualities as a result of your domineering actions towards/over them? Are you really helping or harming them in the long run?
Just think to yourself, “How did I develop perseverance, character and hope? Could it be because I too have learned from God how to navigate through trials that were self-inflicted and or others-inflicted?” You bet! We don’t wish trials upon anyone, but they do serve a purpose in our sin-filled world. In our world in need of seeing Jesus through our responses and reactions.
What purpose do sufferings have in your spiritual walk with the Lord?
Being around sports my whole life, I hear this phrase a lot, “you learn more from winning than from losing.” What are you learning through your valleys of the shadows of death?
Take some time to really meditate on these few verses today…
Romans 5:2-4 (NIV) 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Psalm 23:4 (NLT) Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, a pastor, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter