Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Beginning of the Journey

I read C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity" a couple of years after I first believed in God. It was a great blessing in my development as a Christian. Yet for many years after, I struggled to find contentment in my Christian life. My growth was slow and halting, and the evidence of grace in my life was at many times barely perceptible. In other words, I sinned a lot and wasn't too successful in staying away from it. Looking back, I can best describe those years by saying I was always thirsty. I was longing for something I didn't seem to have, and I wasn't satisfied in what I did have. This left me vulnerable to wounding and scarring from disappointment, depression, and sin – not to mention the effect on others.

I now count one of the greatest demonstrations of God's mercy in my life to be His delivering me from this long season of spiritual thirst by showing me how to find satisfaction entirely and completely in Christ. The difference is so dramatic and amazing that it will take many conversations to describe it accurately, but the bottom line is that I've found a fountain of life that truly satisfies when nothing else will. There are still times when I feel pain, discouragement, weariness, and temptation just like any other person does. But when I feel dry or thirsty, I now know where to go to get filled up. Instead of feeling like something's missing all the time, or running after other things that don't really solve the problem, I am learning to go directly to God and receive satisfaction from the source.

I can testify that this works: God does satisfy deeply, and the desire or need for things that are sin is weakened and much easier to defeat when you experience satisfaction in God. But there are many Christians who don't have this satisfaction, just as I didn't have it for years. There seem to be plenty of books, and good ones, that will introduce the new convert or the skeptic to the basics of Christianity. It is the middle ground between that and between truly living with a satisfaction in God that seems to be in need of more explanation and accessibility. Countless believers throughout the history of the Church have found their satisfaction in God and learned the secret of the contentment that Paul describes in Philippians 4:11-13. Yet experience has convinced me that many Christians are struggling in this middle ground and are finding it to be a very discouraging place.

You can't love anyone else without wanting them to experience as much happiness as you do. So my mandate for writing this blog is that other people would experience real satisfaction in Christ and learn how Christianity truly provides contentment. My goals are to wrestle openly and honestly with the things that make life hard for all of us, and the things that really hurt and disappoint us; to share the ideas and the truths that have blessed me and given me the most satisfying encouragement and fulfillment; to show how God has helped me understand my own suffering and my own sin, and how He has shown me reasons to be filled with joy and encouragement; and to share how I have found rest for my soul and satisfaction in my life by seeing God more clearly and learning to enjoy who He really is. Although I will delve deeply into the actual experiences that led me to satisfaction in Christ and show how I got there, I will also share other thoughts that seem worth contributing. Readers can click on the tag "Finding Joy" to just read the posts on finding satisfaction in Christ.

I don't have the answers to all of life's problems in my head, but Christ does have the answers – indeed, He is the answer. My prayer for what I write here is that my experiences will lead others to find satisfaction in God as well so that their struggles become secondary to the joy they receive from our Savior.

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