Growing up, my parents would let me have any shoe I wanted as long as it was less than $25. That was fine for a while, but then I arrived in junior high and Nike introduced the Air Jordan line up. My friends and neighbors got them, but I couldn’t. They were $100, which was considerably more than my $25 limit. I wanted them so badly that I began to put pictures of them in my binders, drew them in my books and had posters on my wall. I thought they were the coolest shoe ever. My parents were teaching me a couple of lessons. The first was to be thankful for what you have even if it’s not what you want. The second was that if you want something more than what you have, save up your money to get it. That created more value in those shoes than if they had been given to me.
In Philippians 4:11, Paul wrote, “For I have learned to be satisfied with what I have” (GNT). That’s a lesson we could all learn. He’s not saying that we shouldn’t ever want more than we have. It’s that we need to learn to be satisfied with what we do have. If we’re constantly looking for something else or wanting more, we will miss the lesson of contentment and fail to be appreciative of what God has given us. When we don’t appreciate something, we don’t value it. If we don’t value it, we take it for granted. God blesses us daily with good things that we look right past because we already want more than the daily bread He’s given us. Paul’s next verse said that whether he had a little or a lot, the secret to life was learning to be content and satisfied.
Ecclesiastes 6:9 put it this way, “It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting something else.” What blessings have you been overlooking? What are some things you get, but are never enough? A lack of satisfaction or contentment can be an outward expression of an inward brokenness. Once you’ve identified the outward expression, trace it to its roots. Ask God to bring healing to that area and to help you learn to be content with the things you have, whether a little or a lot. Once that change happens in you, the lens that you look at life through will change, and your prayers will too. Start changing them today by thanking Him for the many things He’s already blessed you with instead of asking Him for all the things you don’t have.
One of the shows I love to watch on TV is “Alone”. It’s a true survival show unlike many other ones out there. They take 10 survival specialists, drop them off in late September somewhere where it’s going to have extensive time below zero and leave them with only ten items to survive on. They have to build a shelter, gather firewood, find food and fight the mental battle of loneliness knowing all they have to do is push a button and they can go home to warmth and family. Many contestants go weeks eating nothing or very little. When they do get food, it’s incredible to see how appreciative they are. It’s also heartbreaking at times watching them break down missing their loved ones. You’re rewarded at the end by having their spouse show up to tell them they’ve won and getting to see their joy.
I like to tell people that you can only experience as much joy as you have sorrow. You can only experience as much satisfaction as hunger you have known. Also you can only know as much healing as your brokenness. The greater your valley, the more wonderful your mountain top experience will be. Many of us spend a lot of time, effort, energy and prayers to get out of the valley, but I believe God uses them to show us greater depths of His grace and to bring us closer to Him on the mountain tops. When you’re so broken that you can only rely on Him to rescue you, you find complete dependence on Him. When you’re so hungry to hear from Him, you learn to block everything else out and listen. When He answers, it’s that much sweeter and your faith grows.
In Luke 6, Jesus was surrounded by people desperate for a word from God, for healing and for the Messiah. He began to speak to them about what really matters. In verse 21 He said, “How filled you become when you are consumed with hunger and desire, for you will be completely satisfied. How content you become when you weep with complete brokenness, for you will laugh with unrestrained joy” (TPT). Jesus reiterated our need to hunger after Him and His Word. He expressed the importance of our dependence on Him. Those words are in stark contrast with how we live today. We snack all day long so we won’t feel any hunger pains. We’ve been rewarded for being self reliant since we could first put food in our own mouth as a baby. To draw close to Christ and to really know Him requires that we unlearn those things, embrace our hunger for Him and our brokenness. He is our only satisfaction and our only true healing. When we get to the places of desperation, we need not despair. We need to trust in Him and we will learn the true meaning of joy and satisfaction.
Have you felt unsatisfied? Maybe you were hungry and the meal just wasn’t enough. It left you wanting more so you left disappointed or decided to pig out to try to fulfill the craving you had. Its one thing when it’s food, but a whole other thing when life leaves you feeling unsatisfied. We can feel that way especially when we go through tough times. Our mind and soul craves something more. Just like with food, we tend to overindulge. It feels like we’re owed something in those moments because of what we’re going through so we try to satisfy our flesh. I can tel, you that no matter what you try, you will not find the satisfaction you’re looking for doing those things because it’s not your flesh that’s looking to be filled. It’s your soul.
When you try to satisfy your soul by feeding your flesh, you create a greater brokenness inside. God wants us to feed our soul and only He can satisfy that craving. When you’re walking through the dry places, He is the one who can satisfy your needs. When life is going wrong, instead of running from Him, reach out to Him and ask Him to satisfy your soul. Paul knew how to be content with whatever he was facing because he learned how to find soul satisfaction. We quote Philippians 4:13 all the time, but if we back up a couple of verses, we find it’s when we find satisfaction for our soul that we can do all things through Christ. So instead of seeking things today to satisfy your brokenness or your flesh, seek God to satisfy your soul.
Here are some Bible verses on God satisfying us.
1. I am convinced that my God will fully satisfy every need you have, for I have seen the abundant riches of glory revealed to me through the Anointed One, Jesus Christ!
Philippians 4:19 TPT
2. He satisfies all who love and trust him, and he keeps every promise he makes.
Psalms 111:5 TPT
3. For I [fully] satisfy the weary soul, and I replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.
JEREMIAH 31:25 AMP
4. You satisfy my every desire with good things. You’ve supercharged my life so that I soar again like a flying eagle in the sky!
Psalms 103:5 TPT
5. And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry.
Every year, Americans spend over $80 billion on lottery tickets. It’s hard not to spend money on a ticket when lottery prizes are upwards of $300 million. However, nearly 45% of lottery winners go broke within 3-5 years. The problem is that we are trying to get wealth without earning it. When that happens, we don’t have an understanding of money, thinking it is an endless supply. You can search for “The lottery ruined my life” to see the countless stories of people who are worse off after having won the lottery than before. I also think there’s a heart problem here for most people. Who are you trusting to care for your needs? God or the lottery?
Each of us have prayed The Lord’s Prayer thousands of times. In it we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” It’s interesting that Jesus taught us to ask for daily bread, but we are always seeking more bread. When the Israelites were in the desert, God told them to gather just enough manna for one day. If they gathered more than a day’s worth, it rotted and became full of maggots. God has always been about making sure we have enough. He’s not against us getting rich or trying to make more money, but He is concerned with our motives. Are we trying to replace Him as the source for our lives?
In Proverbs 30:8-9, there is a great prayer by Agur. He prayed, “Empty out of my heart everything that is false— every lie, and every crooked thing. And give me neither undue poverty nor undue wealth— but rather, feed my soul with the measure of prosperity that pleases you. May my satisfaction be found in you. Don’t let me be so rich that I don’t need you or so poor that I have to resort to dishonesty just to make ends meet. Then my life will never detract from bringing glory to your name” (TPT). We need to find our satisfaction in Jesus, understanding that He gives us our daily bread. Jesus said that when we seek His Kingdom first, all these other things would be added to us. Is He enough in your life? Are you satisfied with Him? Or are you trying to replace the need for Him?
I love the candy bar Snickers, and I especially love their ad campaign. Their slogan is simply, “Snickers satisfies.” Their commercials right now have one person in a group as a celebrity with a problem. The others get upset at the celebrity, then finally offer them a Snickers. After taking a bite, the person turns back into themselves and the other person asks, “Are you better?” Then a voice over comes on and says, “You are not you when you’re hungry.” Genius!
I can tell you that you are not you when you’re spiritually hungry either. Inside each one of us is a deep hunger to who we are, why we are here, and how we got here. Many people search a lifetime for those answers. I’ve found that God satisfies them in me, and wants to do the same in others. He not only gives us good things, but He’s created each one of us with a purpose that only we can fulfill. If you’re looking for spiritual satisfaction, quit trying religion and look for a relationship with God.
Here are some Bible verses about how God satisfies.
1. And I will always guide you and satisfy you with good things. I will keep you strong and well. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water, like a spring of water that never goes dry.
Isaiah 58:11 GNT
2. For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Psalms 107:9 ESV
3. For I [fully] satisfy the weary soul, and I replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.
JEREMIAH 31:25 AMP
4. Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
Matthew 5:6 GNT
5. And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
ISAIAH 58:11 AMP
Have you ever been around someone who was never satisfied? No matter what you ever said or did, it was never enough. You keep trying harder and harder thinking one day you will do something that is enough, but in the end, it never is. You either give up trying or you live in a con state state of thinking you’re never enough. Either way, it’s a miserable situation to be in. It leaves you feeling inadequate and insecure.
Now let’s flip the table. How often are you satisfied? It’s a tough question because we live in a world that demands more of us all the time. We’ve learned to constantly push ourselves to the point that we no longer celebrate our successes. Sometimes the person we’re around that is never satisfied is looking at us in the mirror. I believe we should push ourselves to be better, but at the same time, we need to learn to be satisfied with what we have and where we are. There’s peace and joy when we learn to be satisfied.
Here are some Bible verses on being satisfied.
1. Make me to hear joy and gladness and be satisfied; let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Psalm 51:8 AMPC
2. Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
Matthew 5:6 GNT
3. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
Hebrews 13:5 NLT
4. Not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.
Philippians 4:11 AMPC
5. The poor and afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; they shall praise the Lord–they who [diligently] seek for, inquire of and for Him, and require Him [as their greatest need]. May your hearts be quickened now and forever!
Psalm 22:26 AMPC
When I travel to New Orleans, there’s a certain homeless person I like to say hello to. He always makes me smile and he never asks me for anything. He’ll say, “It ain’t gonna cost you nothing to come say hello. I ain’t gonna rob you!” I then walk over and say hello and he puts a smile on my face. Except on a recent trip he called me over and said, “You know I never ask for nothing, but could you go in there and buy me an orange juice and sandwich? I’m about to curl up on my cardboard and I’m hungry.”
When I handed him his dinner, he hugged me and thanked me. He then asked, “You know what I’d change about the world?” My mind began to think of any number of answers. No more homelessness. No more hunger. No more devaluing people. No more selfishness. But before I could decide on an answer, he grabbed my shoulder, looked up at the sky, smiled a big toothless grin, and said, “Absolutely nothing!” He laughed, thanked me again and walked away.
I thought about his answer as I walked back to my hotel. Here’s a man, for whatever reason, is sleeping on a cardboard mat on the streets on downtown New Orleans and is exposed to the elements constantly, and he wouldn’t change a thing. Even though he has absolutely nothing to his name, he has found a way to be content. He’s learned to choose joy instead of bitterness over his situation. It’s a lesson we all could learn.
Paul learned that secret and told us about it in Philippians 4:12. He said, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” (NLT). That secret is choosing the joy of contentment with where God has you. That joy gives us the strength to endure whatever comes our way. It takes us from being a victim of life to a victor over our situation. Don’t try to change your world. Change your attitude. The next verse tells us we can. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”