On the rare occasions that my parents got us donuts when I was a child, I always clamored for a jelly-filled donut. The sugar covered crust if it was a Dunkin donut or the glazed coating if it was Krispy Kreme was the package for the burst of sweet delight inside. As a child, a jelly-filled donut on a Saturday morning was the ultimate “Life Is Good” moment.
Fast forward several decades to today. I no longer prefer jelly-filled donuts, but I still seek the satisfaction that jelly-filled donuts briefly provided. God made us for satisfaction, and the Bible speaks of it. Psalm 90 says “O satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (KJV). Just one Psalm later we read “with long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation” (KJV).
In the Old Testament, the concept of being satisfied was closely connected to the idea of being filled or replenished. The Old Testament use goes further than our modern English understanding. “Satisfy” or “fill” in the Old Testament included the concept of abundance or completion.
Notwithstanding the Fall, God intended man for completion, abundance, satisfaction, and accomplishment.
Since the Fall, though, our understanding of filling and satisfaction has drifted and become decoupled from our ourselves and God. Like a child, we are prone to seek a jelly-filled donut, the satisfaction of the moment that doesn’t last, that simply postpones facing those things that worry or trouble us and that produce anxiety in us. We binge watch, binge eat, and binge drink.
Alternatively, we pursue serious and disciplined activities: physical training, professional accomplishment, or creative achievement. These are effortful, time consuming, and require focus. They are laudable and positive, but like the binge activities, by themselves they are ultimately empty and unsatisfying.
Solomon warns us in Proverbs 14:14 “The faithless in heart shall be filled with his own ways …” (paraphrase). In Ecclesiastes, Solomon laments this throughout the book, noting that no human activity, short or long, focused or distracting, transitory or permanent, is fulfilling and none will produce an anxiety-free peace. He summarizes his search for meaning in Ecclesiastes 12:13 stating, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments …” (KJV).
A thousand years later, Jesus adds a personal and intimate dimension to this, stating in John 14:27 (KJV) “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Paul in Ephesians 4:10 notes that Jesus in his ascendancy to heaven assumed the goal with certainty to “fill all things.” This means that Jesus works even now in his earthly absence to extend to us the abundance, satisfaction, and completeness he knew and knows in his relationship to his father, and to restore to all creation the abundance and completeness that it once enjoyed.
Restoring righteousness to human nature and changing the axis of the universe might sound like an enormous, impossible task, but the hardest part of this has already been done. Jesus is actually on what we would call the “downhill slope.” He is completing what he started. This is like pounding the last nail on a home improvement project, seeing a new product actually leave the factory floor, or nearing the final harbor on an around the world sailing trip. The champagne is on ice, and the confetti has been loaded into the confetti cannons.
Paul offers a human and present perspective on this God given eventuality, stating “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Rom 15:13 KJV)
Now this is a “hope-filled perspective,” and it is yours, just for the asking! But it is not automatic. We have to ask for it, both to enter relationship with God and to continue in relationship with him. John 3 tells us that this relationship is available to whomever believes, and Hebrews 4 calls us to come boldly before God’s throne to present our concerns and ask for his participation in our lives. We have the gift of participating in this.
So this blog post is at the end, but you are at the beginning. What are you going to do with this? Are you willing to take the first step, or the next step, in replacing your “jelly-filled donut” human distractions and anxieties with God’s eternal, certain and satisfying filling? What do you want him to replace or renew in your life? Ask him, then watch how he does it. We’d love for you to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments below.
For more on What will you choose to be filled with??, visit this podcast:What Will Come Out From You When You are Squeezed? – Episode 61
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