What Is The Church?

“The church is a people, not a place.” This has become a prominent catchphrase for many American Christians. It is usually referenced when there is discussion over what church is, and then eventually leads to who the church is. Many argue the church is not the building God’s people gather in, but God’s people. While it is true the church is made up of people, it is also true the church is a gathering somewhere. What many have come to see as opposites are better described as two sides of the same coin.

Biblical Etymology of the Word “Church”

We first see the Hebrew word qahal in Deuteronomy 4:10, which translates to the assembly or gathering as a congregation. Transliterated into the Greek this word is ekklesia. We first see ekklesia in Matthew 16:18, which is translated to church. According to the Bible, the church is a gathering of God’s people.

In Ephesians 5:23, we see the Greek word ekklesias or church is used to refer to the “Bride of Christ.” According to the Bible, the church is God’s people.

These words and their meanings do not contradict each other. If they did, there would be no solid meaning for the church, which could lead to loose and false implications of God’s people and their gathering. Instead, the church is precisely as the Bible explains: both the people of God and their gathering.

The Church: God’s People

Those who confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that God raised them from the dead are called Christians (Rom 10:9). In the New Testament, Christians are also commonly referred to as “the church” (Matt 16:18, Acts 20:28, Eph 5:23-25, Col 1:18, 1:24, 1 Tim 3:5).

Paul, speaking to the Ephesian elders, says:

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” – Acts 20:28

In this verse, God illuminates for us three beautiful truths:

  1. Jesus’ shed blood and resurrection enable sinners dead in their trespasses to be reconciled back to right relationship with God.
  2. God’s mercy in sanctification enables us to daily walk with Jesus.
  3. God’s love is demonstrated to us in that we may be called the church, the bride of Christ.

The Church: The Gathering of God’s People

A common thing to hear among Christians is the reference of a “local body” or “church.” This phraseology is not a made-up concept, but a biblical one. 

An obvious example that the church is a gathering of God’s people is the existence of the epistles. Paul wrote to local bodies of God’s people: churches in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, and Thessalonica. These were churches that gathered on the Lord’s day to worship through the preaching of the Bible, communion, and fellowship. Just as churches gather today, so did the early churches.

All throughout the epistles, the church is mentioned as the gathering of God’s people. One specific instance we see of this is in the book of 1 Corinthians.

“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” -‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:26‬ 

In this verse, God illuminates for us two beautiful truths:

  1. God’s redemption of His people is meant for them to glorify Him by gathering together, so that they may worship Him and seek His holiness. 
  2. The Holy Spirit that dwells in each of God’s people enables them the ability to worship God and build up other saints.

The Responsibility of the Individual Believer as a Member of the Local Church

Since the church is both a gathering and a people, there are a few responsibilities we have as the church both individually and communally.

Proclaim the Gospel

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

Jesus has given the church a command, known as the Great Commission, to proclaim the gospel to anyone and everyone. If we have truly been saved by God and brought from death to life, we will have a desire to obey Christ, which includes obeying the Great Commission.

Desire to Meet With The Local Church

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

We were not made to try to know God as isolated beings. God’s people are not only meant but commanded to meet together. The church is not optional for the Christian; it is an expectation. There ought to be a desire for the believer to meet weekly with their local church body to learn more of who God is, praise Him in worship, encourage others, and be equipped to reach unbelievers with the gospel.

Cherish the Church

“Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” – Romans 12:9-13

We have been exhorted to love our brothers and sisters, and seek to edify each other as we worship and glorify God (Rom 12:4-5). As we seek to know God more, we will further desire to not only meet with the local body of believers, but to love both the local and universal church. 

Walk In Accountability

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

It would not only be foolish of us but sinful to neglect accountability from brothers and sisters in our church and hurtful to them. We are exhorted and commanded in James 5:16 to confess our sins to one another, and then to pray for each other, knowing that God is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). (For a deeper look into accountability, check out a previous article I’ve written over that topic).

A Quick Word On The Church Amid Coronavirus

Although we are the church, we must remember the church is also our physical gathering. I am not saying it is not good to meet online, for how else can we meet in the current dilemma and how good has it been to still hear God’s word preached? But, we ought to remember the beauty and fulfillment of the church when we physically meet with our local body of believers and not neglect meeting together again when we are able to. In the midst of this, I desire so earnestly to gather together again in person with my local church body and truly experience the church as we are meant to gather. For more on how to address the pandemic, check out this article.

Praise God For the Church

All praise be to God for the gift that is the church! God, in His mercy, displays His righteousness by calling those who are saved to be the church, which is the bride of Christ. God, in His mercy, displays His righteousness by enabling His people to gather so as to glorify Him, encourage each other, and be equipped to share the gospel with the world. Let us go out and proclaim the gospel, desiring to meet again with the local church, cherish the church, walk in accountability, and love the world as God has loved us.

Why Morality Matters: Is There a Real Right and Wrong?

Moral relativism was a hot topic to debate in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries but has since earned itself a place among today’s fashionable, intellectual presuppositions. Although popular today, moral subjectivity is itself a slough of ethical absurdities—absurdities we will do our due diligence to dismiss as falsehood. 

Nietzsche and Moral Relativism 

The emergence of moral relativism is frequently attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche, the nineteenth-century German philosopher. In his work The Gay Science, Nietzsche tells the story of a “Madman,” who proclaims the following: 

“Whither is God? We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? Whither are we moving? Are we not plunging continually? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing?” – Friedrich Nietzsche

What does this mean exactly? 

Nietzsche believed it was necessary for Enlightenment-era rationality to usher the Judeo-Christian value system off her throne, although he warned against the implications of such an immediate cultural shift: without clear distinctions between right and wrong, we become the “Madman,” helplessly questioning which way is up and which way is down. It was the nihilistic, global “madness” of the twentieth-century that Nietzsche single-handedly predicted, and it is the remnants of that very philosophical “madness” we are left to fight today. 

The Dangers of Moral Relativism

The Nietzschean argument against objective morality is admittedly more complicated than we have time for, but it is built upon the presupposition that morality is dependent upon our environment and that there is no objective right and wrong. Although this sentiment is popular in our postmodern day, it presents us with severe ethical issues. 

If universal right and wrong do not exist, we cannot say that anything is actually, objectively wrong. And if morality is determined by someone’s environment, and not a universal standard, then we cannot assert that the mass killing of millions of Jews, Poles, and Slaves—to name a few groups, there are many others—was wrong. All the moral relativist can claim is that he has a feeling that Nazism was wrong, based on what his specific environment has taught him. He is not saying anything about the object, just his feelings. 

In The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle claims that what distinguishes humans from animals is our capacity for reason—and reason is the ability to say something about something, often based on previous information. The point is this: if we are only talking about feelings and not the objective reality of something, we effectively reduce ourselves to animals, devoid of the very thing that makes us inherently unique. 

The logic of moral relativism leads to absurdity. So, what really governs our morality? 

What is the Moral Law? 

Let’s say you and a friend are at a restaurant together, arguing over the concept of morality. Your friend believes there is no real right and wrong, while you beg to differ. In a moment of passion, you take his drink and finish it off quickly. He exclaims “Hey, what are you doing that for? That’s my drink! How would you like it if I did the same to you?” and you slyly reply “Well, was that wrong?” 

Although playful, the concept here is exhibited clearly: any amount of quarreling assumes a standard of correct behavior. Your friend is not only saying your behavior happens to not please him, but saying what you ought to do. Argument means trying to prove the other person is wrong, and there would be no point in arguing unless a real standard of right and wrong exists. This is what we call the Moral Law, and if it does not exist there is no sense in quarreling; just as there is no sense in saying that slavery was actually wrong because the measuring stick of right and wrong would not exist. 

Isn’t the Moral Law just Culture? 

Many have proposed that a universal Moral Law is unsound, due to the fact different cultures have different moralities. Moral variation surely exists on a micro-level, but not on a macro-level. In other words, there are small differences in morality between cultures, but nothing close to an absolute difference. What would a total difference in morality look like? Consider the following from Mere Christianity

“Think of a county where people were admired for running away in battle, or where a man felt proud for double-crossing all the people who have been kindest to him… Men have differed as regards to what people you ought to be unselfish to—whether it was only your own family, or your fellow countrymen, or everyone. But selfishness has never been admired… You might as well imagine a country where two and two made five.” – C.S. Lewis

Isn’t the Moral Law just Herd Instinct? 

Another objection to the Moral Law is that real, correct behavior is an instinct, something that has been developed at the expense of our surroundings. Yet, an instinctual desire is far different from the knowledge that you ought to do something, whether you like it or not. 

Consider the scenario of a drowning man. Two instincts will be immediately felt: one to help the drowning man, and the other to flee the scene. The first is identified as our herd instinct, the desire to help, which is learned through education. While the other is identified as the instinct of self-preservation. In this scenario, the Moral Law is what tells us what we ought to do, and its job is to discern between instincts. This is why the most intense desire—the desire for self-preservation—is often not acted upon, given that the Moral Law directs us otherwise. 

Why is the Moral Law Important? 

See, without the Moral Law, we would not feel the restraint that withholds us from falling into our most intense, usually immediate instincts. And, given there is a universal standard of right and wrong, we may assert this standard is directed by something or someone that lies beyond the limitations of humanity, as the existence of such a standard would not reasonably be a product of naturalistic chance. 

Another question we have to ask ourselves is this: how could a naturalistic or cosmic force—the forces that belong to popular philosophy today—direct behavior if that very force does not have a mind? In order to create and enforce a standard of right and wrong, the ability to reason must be utilized, because, without reason, this standard would not be philosophically sensible, nor moderately coherent. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that objective morality has a divine, reasonable Giver. Consider the following: 

They (the Gentiles) show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness.” – Romans 2:15

Paul makes the case that God is the author of the Moral Law, the one who has written right and wrong on our hearts. This is no trivial point, for it means that adhering to a universal standard of behavior not only carries legal, temporal consequences, but it also carries eternal consequences. In other words, when we decide to do something that violates the Moral Law, we are not only acting incorrectly, but offending the God who cares for our correct behavior. This is why objective, right behavior matters: because God is the author of that very behavior Himself. Without a universal standard of right and wrong, no action can be actually right or wrong, and we might as well dismiss the idea of God altogether.  

The Possibility of Prayer: A Review

This is a book review on John Starke’s The Possibility of Prayer

As a pastor in the heart of New York City, John Starke is well acquainted with the busyness of pastoral ministry in an achievement-driven culture. Rather than providing keen insight on how to increase efficiency, Starke takes a less beaten path by discussing prayer. He begins by laying a foundation for the difficulty, yet simplicity of the practice of prayer. After the groundwork has been established, he provides seven practices that believers should cultivate in the normal rhythms of their life.

Since I often struggle to practice rhythms of rest and prayer in my own life, I found this book extremely helpful and enjoyable. Therefore, the majority of what I have to say is a positive discussion of a meaningful and well-written book.  Regardless of the personal application, I do not know any Christian who would not leave this book refreshed, challenged, and encouraged. My aim in this review is not to tell you the advantages and the disadvantages of the book, but rather to beg you to read this book by presenting the basic premise and the highlights of it.

The Groundwork

In order to establish and cultivate patterns of prayer in our lives, we must first correct our often limited and incorrect view of these habits. Starke skillfully guides the reader to a right understanding of the three most fundamental disciplines: prayer, scripture reading, and confession.


Far too often, Christians naively view prayer too narrowly. Sometimes even to the extent that we essentially see prayer as an act of making requests to a genie who can make our wishes come true. 

Starke defines prayer as “the business of conquering territory within us: territory that we think is ours but which God claims for himself.” I absolutely love this. With this understanding, prayer becomes an act of God getting more of us, rather than merely us getting more from God.

Scripture Reading

In the same way, many find themselves viewing scripture reading simply as an act of collecting information. In an extreme sense, Christians may avoid reading God’s Word because they do not want to engage with the text intellectually.

Contrarily, Starke corrects our incomplete view of the Bible by saying,

“If you read the Bible, you will see that God’s Word is often compared to a sword, and His presence, fire. These images teach us that the Word of God and His presence are not always comfortable. Swords pierce deep and cut away; fire burns and purifies.” – John Starke

The author’s point here is to say the Bible can and should deeply change and challenge us. When we read God’s Word, we do not only engage the text with our minds, but with our hearts. The Scriptures impact not only the thoughts of our mind but the desires of our heart.


Similarly, Starke exposes the “laissez-faire spirituality that boasts of weakness but is safe from criticism and reproof.” The point of confession is not merely to receive acceptance, but to be rescued. Unfortunately, many of us view confession only as a time to acknowledge our shortcomings and forget that this is about experiencing transformation. An element of confession is clearly missing if we do not see the depth of our sin and begin to turn away from it. 

Cultivating Rhythms of Prayer

As the book takes a turn towards more specific practices, there are a few that I would like to highlight.


As Starke discusses Scripture meditation, he writes,

“We’re not just reading the text to find examples to follow but mercies to receive.” – John Starke

Far too often, I find myself inclined towards viewing the biblical text as a self-help book that exists to make me a better version of myself. While there is merit in seeking to apply the Scriptures, Starke reminds the reader that this isn’t the only purpose. He goes on to write,

“Meditation is the discipline that lights the fuse between the understanding of the mind and the tasting of the heart — the knowledge of God and the joy of his presence.” – John Starke

This is huge. In my own personal life, I have found meditating on the Scriptures to be the bridge we all need between our time in prayer and our time in studying God’s Word.

Fasting and Feasting

In my article, “How Fasting Forms the People of God,” I argued that fasting was one of the least practiced spiritual disciplines in Evangelical Christianity, yet we should still teach ourselves how to fast. After building an exegetical foundation for the practice of fasting, Starke writes,

“So, yes, we ought to practice the regular rhythm of fasting but stabilize our souls with feasts, too.” – John Starke

Growing up in Texas, we certainly had our fair share of “feasts.” Yet Starke uses the word a bit differently than I initially would have thought. When I think of feasts, I do think of lots of food, but Stark paints a much more vivid picture by writing, 

Gather friends for a meal everyone is involved in making. Come prepared. Take a nap or sleep longer the night before — no one goes home early from a good feast… Set phones at the door.

For Starke, a feast is less about the abundance of food on your plate, but more about the enjoyment of relationships that God has provided.

Corporate Worship

All of the practices mentioned in this book – communion, meditation, fasting, feasting, solitude, and sabbath – culminate in corporate worship. As I am writing this, my county has been under a stay-at-home order for over a month. 

We are unable to practice the discipline of corporate worship in the way we previously have and therefore expectantly long for the day when we can gather in-person with our brothers and sisters to worship together. Yet, Starke defines corporate worship in a way we can participate in, even during the unexpected times we are currently living in. Starke writes, 

“Corporate worship uses deeper mechanisms of change because it is not a habit that aims directly at self-improvement but at enjoyment. Worship is a command to enjoy an object.” – John Starke

Though we are unable to meet together in the way that we have before, worship is about enjoying God. We can worship God in our living rooms with our family. We can worship God through our zoom calls with our community groups. Just because have to take a break from the way we traditionally view corporate worship does not mean we have to take a break from worshipping and enjoying God.

Read This Book

I do not know how to make it any clearer: you want to read this book. The way Starke pastorally corrects the misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding spiritual practices is challenging yet encouraging. If the point of this book was to make you love Jesus more, Starke has surely accomplished his goal.

The Deity of the Holy Spirit

Whether you were raised in a Christian household, have grown up in the Church, or have recently become a Christian, I would be interested to ask what your view is on the Holy Spirit. Can you support with biblical evidence the triune divinity of the Spirit and His role in the Father, Son, Spirit relationship? Not to mention, how would you begin to explain who the Holy Spirit is to a non-believer? I too had to wrestle with these questions as I came to terms with the reality that the Holy Spirit is a person of depth and the roles of the Spirit need to be addressed by looking at the narrative of Scripture.

The deity of the Holy Spirit is essential to understand as a Christian and recognize its various roles in the history of Scripture, as well as its active role in the world today. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit may prove to be a challenging topic to be fully cognizant of; yet we must challenge ourselves to think critically and rely on wisdom from the Lord to gain understanding. 

The Hebrew word for Spirit is Ruakh, meaning an invisible, powerful energy, necessary for life. The Holy Spirit is invisible but is an indwelling person, and the biblical authors refer to the Spirit as God’s personal presence. Jesus, Himself, says, 

He will glorify me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
-John 16:14

Jesus uses a singular, masculine pronoun to establish that the Spirit is a “He,” not an “it.”

Being honest with ourselves and others about the importance of the Holy Spirit is crucial to our Gospel witness. The Gospel mandate is to go into the world preaching the Good News to all creation. To do this, believers must first understand the Scriptural basis for the Holy Spirit and the roles this third person of the Trinity fulfills.

The Role of the Spirit in the Trinity

To begin addressing some of the questions posed above, there must be a clear presentation of how the Holy Spirit is involved in the Trinity. This starting point must be concrete knowledge in the heart of the Christian. Michael Horton presents a clear, foundational explanation of the Trinity in his book, Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story. He writes,

So the essence is one. The persons are God in exactly the same way and to exactly the same degree. They are equally omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, loving, just, and holy. The Son and the Spirit share the same essence (homoousios) as the Father. But the persons are three. Each has his own personal attributes that distinguish him from the others. The Father is the unbegotten source of all things, the son is the only-begotten Son, and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Father gave his Son, and the Spirit unites us to him.
-Michael Horton

The doctrine of the Trinity was secured during the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 and later finalized at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381. The doctrinal statement of one essence in three persons is established in the recognizable Nicene Creed. Today, the Church recognizes the overwhelming importance of the Holy Spirit in every born-again believer.

Pastor and theologian, John Piper, establishes two key truths about the Holy Spirit in his message, The Holy Spirit: He is God! that succinctly describes who the Holy Spirit is: 1) the Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force (John 14:15-17), and 2) the Holy Spirit is God, not a creation of God (1 Cor. 2:10-13). The Spirit is “of God” not because God created Him, but because He shares God’s nature and comes forth eternally from God. It is by the Spirit that Christ’s followers comprehend the Scriptures as well as speak and preach the good news of the Gospel.

The triune relationship of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is complex and yet each person is equal first and foremost in power, knowledge, and divinity. Acts 10:38 gives a glimpse of this relationship,

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”
-Acts 10:38

God himself provided Jesus with the Holy Spirit and the full power to complete His commands and purposes. Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, is our example to work towards our high calling (Phil. 3:14) and to fulfill our role as ambassadors for His Kingdom on earth (2 Cor. 5:11-21). The presentation of the roles of the three persons in Acts 10:38 proves evidently that each divine being engages equally together according to their respective characteristics. As Michael Horton puts it, 

The Father is the source, the Son is the mediator, and the Spirit is the one at work within the world—and within us—to bring the work to completion.
Michael Horton

The history of redemption that spans the course of Scripture progressively evolves the triune relationship. The Trinity, specifically the Spirit, has been and will continue to be imperative to the work of the Gospel.

The Spirit’s Divinity Evident in Scripture

Since the very beginning, the Spirit has been presently involved in the biblical narrative of Scripture.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and the darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
-Genesis 1:1-2

The triune God is the Maker of heaven and earth: the Father speaks creation into being through the Son and by the operation of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 104:30; John 1:1-3; Heb. 11:3). Realizing the Spirit was present, hovering, and actively participating during the formation of the world verifies His divine quality. 

Advancing into the New Testament, the Spirit continues to be present and declarative in the life of Jesus Christ. For the birth of Christ was by and from the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18; 20) and the Spirit was present at Jesus’ baptism, descending like a dove as Jesus arose from the water (Matt. 3:13-17; Mk. 1:9-11; Lk. 3:21-22; Jn. 1:32-34). The Spirit of God came once again in the person of Jesus Christ to transform and commission people to love the Lord God and others more completely. Jesus Himself as part of the Trinity was in a relationship with the Spirit as God saw accordingly fit. John Piper states that, 

Jesus being baptized in the Jordan River was God’s Spirit empowering Jesus to begin the new creation; healing and forgiving sins.
-John Piper

Today, the Spirit is continuing to work among the hearts of believers and non-believers to bring about the great multitude promised in Revelation 7:9-12. Two of the Great Commission accounts (Luke 24:44-53 and John 20:19-23) acknowledge the gift of the person of the Holy Spirit. Luke refers to the disciples being “clothed with power from on high” while John expresses the receiving of the Holy Spirit by being breathed on by Jesus. In particular, the Johannine Commission records Jesus appearing to His disciples after the Resurrection. This receiving of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ disciples is the same Spirit believers receive today when they confess, repent, and believe in God.

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then, the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
John 20:19-23

The Holy Spirit is a gift upon becoming a new creation in Christ and as a follower of the Lord you are given the Holy Spirit as a Helper and Teacher and peacemaker as you live in the world for Christ’s glory (John 14:15-17, 25-26). When we ask the Spirit to direct and guide us daily, we are asking in the power of Christ to engage with the Father so we can honor Him in all that we say and do. For we know we are to love one another, and through the Spirit, God’s love is perfected in us as we abide in Him (1 John 4:12-14). 

Spurred on by the Spirit

Ultimately, each Christian’s life is to be lived empowered by the Spirit, who is not just a figure of the imagination, but is a fully divine being—the third person in the Trinity. The Spirit was present at Creation, in a communal relationship with Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and now is living in the hearts of Christians all over the world. Theologian John Piper articulates in The Holy Spirit: He is God! by saying,

There is only one power that can break the spell of Satan, waken the armies of the Lord, and rout the god of this age—the power of the Holy Spirit.
-John Piper

The Spirit has the power to right unbelief with trust, shatter hate with love, and awaken wayward hearts to the Gospel of grace. The reality is the Holy Spirit is what allows us to understand the things of God (1 Cor. 2:12-14) and because of Him, we have true wisdom to understand rather than reject the Gospel. 

The question now becomes do you believe the truth of the deity of the Spirit found in Scripture, and can you recognize the various roles the Spirit has and will continue to fulfill until the day of Christs’ return? I pray the Spirit will work anew in your heart and awaken your mind to the power living inside you if you are in Christ. If you have not given your life to Christ, I ask that you repent and believe in the saving power of Jesus’ death on the Cross and by faith come to Him, recognizing that it is by the Spirit your heart was awoken to your sin. May the peace of Christ fill you as you live as a Christian in tandem with the Spirit who is our indwelling ability to enjoy and glorify God forever.

Fully Satisfied in Christ

Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.
-Saint Augustine

A God-Shaped Hole

Throughout this pandemic, while a majority of people have been stuck at home, I have been given a fresh perspective on how humans have looked to the world to satisfy them. We desire safety. We desire peace. We desire knowledge. We desire entertainment. Yet in this time, we have not been guaranteed any of that as our world has fallen into chaos. What has the Lord taught you through it all?

Once each of us wakes up in the morning, our waking is sure to be accompanied by desire. Our empty stomachs desire food, our hearts desire companionship, and our dry mouths demand water. God has designed all of us, as humans, to have desires. We are led by them, for better or for worse. Yet, those longings are also made to point us to something greater, rather than simply captivating our thoughts, emotions, and actions. The deepest and most earnest yearnings are designed to point us to Someone greater. Our desires are meant to show us our need for the great Fulfiller.

Jesus uses these innate desires in His exchange with the Canaanite woman at the well to show her how He has made something greater. 

But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
-John 4:14

Unless we find our satisfaction entirely in Jesus, all we have are failed attempts at fulfilling our deepest desires. Our flesh leads us to desire relationships, status, friendships, popularity, you name it. You can see it in every human: a longing for something greater. It drives our world.

Just like the woman at the well, we are made for more than endless striving. The striving for satisfaction is what leads us to miss our goal when we forget to sit and rest in the presence of our Lord and find our delight in Him. Why is this? Because we have been made to worship our Creator and be completely satisfied in Him.

It is simple to identify the nonbelievers’ lack of satisfaction in Christ because they don’t have the foundational requirement for divine satisfaction: a relationship with Jesus. However, even Christians struggle to find satisfaction entirely in God. No matter how much we strive for lesser things, we are only truly satisfied in Him because He has created us. He knows what we need!

Turn Your Eyes Upon Him

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 63 because it reminds the believer to shift the longings of your heart to desiring God. The Psalmist reminds its readers by saying,

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you: my soul thirst for you.
-Psalm 63:1

Can we as believers echo this Scripture? Can we honestly say God alone is our heart’s cry? Can we say our souls thirst for the Lord, day in and day out? Examining ourselves and finding we fail to do this, Scripture reminds us why we should make the intentional effort to do so:

Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you…in Your name I will life up my hands.
-Psalm 63:3-4

The depths of His greatness are unsearchable and unknowable. We can spend all of our life seeking Him, and still have endless things to learn about our Savior. No matter what age or stage of life you are in, we are all welcome to seek and find our satisfaction and fulfillment in God. 

“The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for a theologian to swim in without ever touching the bottom.”
-St. Jerome

Through Christ, we’ve been given access to know Him through cultivating a relationship with Him. When we let our longings lead us to our Savior, He will fill our hearts and satisfy our desires, setting our souls to rest in Him. At His feet, He offers fullness of joy. Whatever desires we lay at His feet, He has promised to be better than them. 

Whatever your heart is longing for in this moment – companionship, financial stability, another achievement – lay it down on the altar of our King. He is waiting for you, and He promises to fulfill you more than that longing ever will. His steadfast love is promised to be better than life itself, and better than anything this world could offer.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
-Psalm 37:4

When we delight ourself in Him, finding our joy and satisfaction in Him, He transforms the desires of our heart into desire for the things of God and for Himself. He promises always to give Himself away, and to come close when sought after (Jeremiah 29:13).

I pray for your every desire, want, and hope to push you to seek the King of your heart, and move you into a greater fellowship with Him.

May we stand before the throne and sing these truths before our King:

We long, we long, we long for You and no one else
Could satisfy like You do, Jesus.
-“Great Assembly” by Steffany Gretzinger