Devotional Week 1 Friday
“I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.”
John 15: 11
“Let us offer up to Him each day, and all its occupations, yes, and all its relaxations – as it begins, and beg Him to let us somehow “see” Him throughout it. Let us trust Him withthe hallowing of our ordinary “secular” interest, let us try to shape each day’s life so as best to please Him…This habitual “looking up to Jesus,” this repeated reference to His will and pleasure – does it seem to us likely to be restrictive, burdensome? Let us only try it, and judge for ourselves: it will turn out to be a source of peace and comfort indescribable.”
Today’s Study Text:
“He will fulfill the desires of those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him…the Lord preserves all those who love Him.”
Psalm 145: 19, 20
“Finding Complete Fulfillment”
“Fulfillment” – To contain everything that is essential. To bring to wholeness. To bring to completion.
“Be life long or short, its completeness depends on what it was lived for.”
How would I describe what it means to be “fulfilled”?
“Let this by thy whole endeavor, this thy prayer, this thy desire – that thou mayest be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only.”
“The very first condition of lasting happiness is that a life should be full of purpose, aiming at something outside self.”
She was quite a girl – the one who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. The lady with two glass slippers on her feet and Prince Charming sitting by her side in the gilded carriage. Her name was Joanna. And she had it made – that is if you believe money, fame, and status will bring you fulfillment.
The Bible tells us just a little bit about Joanna in Luke 8: 1-3. We find she was married to Chuza, Herod’s steward. These few words give us more than a little glimpse into Joanna’s life – they reflect a grand and glorious portrait.
To say Herod was wealthy would be an understatement. He had amassed a fortune and as “domestic administrator” of Herod’s money and land, Chuza was the “go-to-guy.” Call him Herod’s gatekeeper. He ran the show – the day-to-day operation. And his position gave him power!
It isn’t difficult to imagine the society-life of Joanna and Chuza. If they weren’t hosting the party…they were the couple at the top of the invitation list.
But when a day came that Joanna wasn’t feeling well, and all her money was useless in finding a cure for her illness, she began to reassess what all the stuff in her life was good for. The things she had were useless. The money she had wasn’t worth a thing. The parties and people were of no help.
She needed more!
Has this ever happened to you? You long for more because the same old stuff you once thought so valuable is useless to you?
You got the new car you dreamed about only to find it has the same problems your old one did. You’re disappointed.
Your children leave home and you wish you had spent more time with them when they were young – but you didn’t. You were too busy working, seeking the big raise and promotion. Those were top on your priority list. Now you’re living with the thoughts, “If only.”
Or you feel a lump in your breast. You go to the doctor. He gives you the diagnosis. “Sorry, but you have cancer.” How would your life’s priorities change if these were the words you heard?
Over the next few days, we will take a look at what happened to Joanna when she became ill. All the “things” she loved became absolutely worthless. Nothing mattered but getting well. And once she got her health back, nothing from her past was important to her anymore.
Joanna found out that the word fulfillment didn’t mean what she had thought it did! Joanna found that as William Cowper wrote, “The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.”
In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul tells us that you and I were called, “chosen” by God who has a purpose for our lives. And it is God’s purpose for your life that will bring you the fulfillment you long for. As we begin a New Year, I invite you to take a closer look at what it means to live a fulfilled life. A life that is filled fully. In the words of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, “The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve”
“’Do all things in the name of Jesus’ is the lesson of a life…When thou hast learned to do all things to Jesus, it will shed pleasure over all dull things, softness over all hard things, peace over all trial. Then life will be glad, when thou livest to Jesus.”
E. B. Pusey
“What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?”
Matthew 16: 26
The Message Bible
“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing dismay you,
All things pass
God never changes.
All that it strives for,
Those who have God
find they lack nothing.
God alone suffices.”
Teresa of Avila
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus