People never change. Throughout the world people endlessly search for satisfaction and honor through the accumulation and enjoyment of all that the world offers. People accumulate the latest, biggest, desirable and most expensive of objects and they seek all kinds of pleasures, old and new. Despite feeling an emptiness in these pursuits, they assume what they need is more of the same. It all ends in futility: trying to catch the wind.
King Solomon tried everything “under the sun” so as to quench his thirst for satisfaction and honour. He did this by building a formidable armed force and impressive buildings, having a harem of hundreds of wives and concubines, trading with other countries and filling up the royal treasury, displaying his intelligence, knowledge and diplomatic skills, and having the respect of his own people and surrounding nations. Despite all his endeavors to seek fulfillment through these earthly means, instead of finding fulfillment he found a meaninglessness about these empty pursuits. His journey, described for us in Ecclesiastes, a book of the Old Testament, is one shared universally by millions around the world throughout history. Even in this century.
This emptiness of heart cannot be filled by anything but the love of God through Jesus Christ and his finished work! No one can overcome this thirst for satisfaction and honor except through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. This is what the apostle John meant when he said in 1 John5:4,5: “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
“The world” is of course not creation – the earth and the sky. It is a term that describes the world system of values that spring out of human pride and rebellion against God since the fall. Values like hedonism, materialism and status seeking. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). This anti-Christ world system seek to press everyone into its mold. The only ones who can overcome this and fight the temptations of this anti-God system is the Christian who has forged a faith relationship with Christ, who by faith has found a deeper satisfaction, honour, and filling up of that emptiness in our hearts with the love of God.
Experiencing being filled with God’s love through the Holy Spirit, takes away that desperate search for love, honour and satisfaction in all the wrong places. We find our restless hearts rest and are at peace once we dwell in Christ’s love, and in the true Christian community. The crazy pursuit of more possessions, more money, more thrills subsides greatly. Paul expressed it this way: “May I never boast except in the cross of Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and me to the world” (Gal 6:14). Paul’s opponents in Galatia boasted in keeping the Law and sought honour through their obedience to rituals and rules. Paul is saying, This sort of thing no longer satisfies or brings true honour. Rather real satisfaction and honour comes by experiencing the cross and the new life in the Spirit. He does not care for the kind of joy and honour received from external keeping of the Law.
Christians who do not abide in the love of God and instead seek satisfaction and honor outside of Christ will be unhappier than even the people of the world. They have their feet on two boats – they will lose balance, get wet and drawn away by strong currents. They will need to call out in faith on the name of the Lord, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, save me from drowning.” By faith you overcome the anti-God world system. This faith is focused on Christ, who himself overcame the world when he was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, and throughout his ministry.
This is part of a planned series of writings on the topic, “The A to Z of Christ’s Finished Work”. I am writing it alphabet by alphabet. Thus far the others that I have written can be found HERE.