“Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6, NKJV).
I went to bed with a full heart Christmas night. In the morning, I woke up to email ads with titles the likes of, “Didn’t get what you wanted?” These advertisements reflect the reality that, on the heels of the holidays, many feel a sense of letdown. Businesses capitalize on this by immediately beginning their “After Christmas” sales campaigns.
With Advent calendars… stores decked out to overflowing with everything imaginable related to Christmas… holiday music on every loud speaker… and the adrenaline rush of preparation… there is such a buildup to the big day! But now it is over. Countless loved ones have said their goodbyes and are heading back to their corner of the country to resume everyday life.
How are you feeling, as you look at your tree and think about the imminent job of taking down your lights and packing it all up again for another year?
Oftentimes, we have great expectations for elements of our lives, and find ourselves disappointed in the end. This is because earthly things were never meant to satisfy the deepest parts of us. If we allow them to, those disappointments can drive us into the arms of the only One who can.
In His legendary Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lovingly gave us the secret to real contentment: “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him” (Matt. 6:33, tPt).
Do you see that? “Above all” means Holy Spirit is highlighting this in brilliant yellow and drawing arrows to it from all sides. This top priority instruction links in directly with His promise: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6, ESV, bold emphasis mine).
I want you to notice something here. Matthew 5:6 is not only a guarantee that the spiritually ravenous will be fed. It is also an observation of a general principle that governs the universe: the fulfillment of spiritual longings in the only thing that is going to provide human beings with enduring, genuine satisfaction. The ones hungry and thirsty for God – they, and no one else – are going to be truly filled.
Hungering and thirsting for God’s realm, for God’s reality, for God’s righteousness, for the riches of deep friendship with God, is what we were made for. Pursuit of His heart, of His passions, of His presence, is the only thing that will ultimately replace our emptiness with overflowing contentment.
It’s not about the next big thing. No promotion, no achievement, no romantic relationship, no moving on to the next long anticipated season in life, is going to be what makes you finally happy. It’s about Him. You were created for Him.
Truth be told, you already have everything you need to enjoy life with rich fulfillment. Here. Now. Run after His Kingdom; run after Him with all that is within you… and you shall be satisfied.
What are your thoughts on the emotions experienced after the holidays? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!