Here’s my favorite verse of all time (from today’s readings):
… I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as [garbage], in order that I may gain Christ…. (Philippians 3:8 ESV)
I remember studying Philippians right after college and realizing that the aim of my life had to be knowing Jesus more and more intimately, that compared to knowing Jesus, everything else was garbage.
What a wild ride He’s taken me on to ensure that I get to know Him, that I punt all those little “gods” that I so frequently turn to instead of finding in Him my soul’s satisfaction.
For if I am to know Jesus, I must know Him as my dearest friend, my deepest delight, my caring father, and my husband.
To know Jesus means to have no other “gods” before Him.
When I served as a missionary in Russia and felt frustrated that I wasn’t receiving the support I thought I needed, someone (who listened to my venting) shared this passage with me – from today’s readings as well:
… my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
(Jeremiah 2:13 ESV)
This woman was letting me know I had turned to man for my sense of worth, for approval – not to Jesus. Men’s approval is garbage compared to knowing Jesus. Men’s approval cannot quench the thirst meant for living waters. Like C.S. Lewis said (the source of this blog’s name):
… it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
And I love John Piper’s summary of sin:
Perverted passions, sweet idolatries in which the longing heart embraces the wrong (futile) satisfaction… [The] treasonous pursuit of satisfaction from the wrong source.
John Piper (in a letter to Larry Crabb)
If I am to know Jesus better, I must daily work to stop looking for love (or approval or worth or pleasure) in all the wrong places. I must continuously repent and turn to Him.
As God reveals to me (again, often through pain) that I’ve been hanging out in the garbage bin, I turn to the living waters and am filled.
Then I know Jesus just a little bit more.
That’s what I set my heart on (by God’s grace) back in the day.
And that’s what He’s been about in my heart ever since – and in fact, before the foundation of the world.
Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 1:1-2:37, Psalm 116:5-14, Proverbs 27:1, Philippians 3:1-21. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).