Tag Archive for The Only Good Is Jesus

We Are Not Home

Genesis 15; Hebrews 11:9-16

Abraham was heir to some of the most magnificent promises God ever made to a human being. Yet he didn’t see them fulfilled in his lifetime. He was to be the father of a great nation, but his single heir wasn’t born till he was one hundred years old. The promised land was to belong to his seed, but he spent his entire life living in tents, moving from place to place. The only land he ever owned was a burial plot for his wife.

He lived as an alien, a stranger, a foreigner, an exile, always temporary, always in a strange land, never a citizen, never belonging.

But he was not alone. The biblical history of God’s people is permeated with the pain of separation. Adam and Eve were forced out of their garden home, never to return. Noah lost everything and everyone in the flood, except for seven members of his immediate family. Joseph’s own brothers sold him into slavery in a foreign land. Moses lost his Jewish family, then his home in the Egyptian palace, then spent eighty years in a brutal wilderness—forty as a shepherd, and another forty leading a rebellious people. Israel spent 400 years in a foreign land, much of that as slaves, then later lost their home, their nationhood, and their dignity in a bitter exile. The prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, the disciples, the Apostle Paul, all knew the gnawing sorrow of separation, of living where they never belonged.

We know that deep sorrow as well. Many of us know what it’s like to live much, or all, of our lives where we know we are not home.

All of us know the restless yearning of separation from our Father, our Creator. We groan under our troubles and sufferings, longing for perfect peace in Him. Even the joy of His presence makes us conscious that we are not yet completely, constantly one with Him. Each taste of Him increases our sense of separation and longing.

But realize that such longing is itself a precious gift from our loving Father. It creates a deep, undying sense of anticipation. Just as hunger focuses all our attention on food, and as the thirsty can think of nothing but water, our separation from God pulls us toward the fullness, oneness, and completeness that will soon be ours in Jesus Christ. He is the longing that overshadows every joy. He is the joy that eclipses all suffering. In pleasure and pain, today and forever, He is our only satisfaction.

Every experience, every struggle in life can bind our hearts closer and closer to Him.

The emptiness, pain, and sorrow
of our present existence
continually remind us of this truth:
Jesus Christ alone is
life as it was meant to be—
joyful, and

Hymn: The Only Good Is Jesus


Earth has nothing I desire besides you (Psalm 73:25, NIV).

Look at your shelves and closets. Think back, and be honest. How many of your purchases were driven by a vague restlessness, by an indefinable discontentment? How often were you reaching for something new to stimulate your life? Without even realizing it, were you searching for some spark that might make life just a little better, a little more fulfilling?

Purchasing is only one expression of that restlessness. How many of your desires – both the small, daily ones and those that are deeper and more long-term – are driven by that same searching? We reach for personal achievement or recognition; for personal pleasure, from eating to immorality; perhaps for travel or a new job. The possibilities are as endless as the varied facets of our personalities. I can’t discern your motivations, but I have seen it in myself: a wanting, a searching, an aspiring and dreaming. The desire usually enters unrecognized. I scratch without even realizing it itches.

As I look back, I see that I satisfy old desires only for new ones to take their place. Seldom do I gain any happiness – a bit of comfort sometimes, but not happiness. Such a pattern can stretch into a lifetime of chasing our tails. Our blind attempts at satisfying ourselves only make our lives more complex through addictions and cumbersome habits. We accumulate “conveniences” to repair and worry about, spending ourselves on “treasures” that just sit on the shelf and mock our weakness. We are only buying new dissatisfactions.

I’m not condemning all these things. I’m only sharing a bit of self-understanding that might help you as well. And I’m sharing a discovery: God does not fit this pattern. I have come to know Him as a real Being, an intriguing Person who is continually with me and lives within me. The more I turn to Him, the more He proves Himself fulfilling, on both deep and practical levels – beyond what I ever could have imagined. The more I know Him, the more I want to know Him and interact with Him.

I can’t tell you how to lose that restlessness, that itch that expresses itself in so many ways. But you can do what I’m doing: every time you recognize that restlessness, turn it on God. Look to Him instead of to anything else. The more you carry your needs and desires to Him, the more you’ll discover that He is your joy. He is that stimulation and inner spark. And He will be as satisfying and personal to you as you allow Him to be.

Loving Christ – truly loving Him – can simplify life. 

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Only Good Is Jesus
Printed Music & Lyrics

Single-minded Devotion

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Hosea 4:7-13; Matthew 16:1-4

Since God views His relationship with His people as a marriage, He considers it adultery when we chase other “gods”, other loves. In the Old Testament, when Israel worshipped other gods, God accused her of playing the harlot. For example:

My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them;
For a spirit of harlotry has led them astray,
And they have played the harlot, departing from their God. (Hosea 4:12, NASB)

Jesus took the same view. When the Jewish leaders saw Jesus’ miracles and heard His words, yet still demanded other proofs of who He was, He called them “an evil and adulterous generation” (Matthew 16:4, NASB). Their hearts weren’t satisfied with Him or with their God. They were putting their love and trust elsewhere.

As believers, we need to guard our hearts against the same danger, against the same unfaithfulness to our Bridegroom. In writing to the church in Corinth, Paul expressed his concern for them this way:

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2-3, NASB)

Since Jesus is the Bridegroom, we believers are engaged to Him. What is expected of us as we approach our marriage to Him?

  • Like any bride-to-be, we are to keep ourselves pure, devoted to Him alone. In our hearts and in our lives, we cannot chase other loves. We are His. We are to love Him alone. All our loves for anyone and anything must flow from our one love of Him. He is now the center of all our relationships and all our desires.
  • The word in 2 Corinthians 11:3 translated as “simplicity” is particularly meaningful. It has a variety of shades of meaning, depending on its context: simplicity…sincerity…generosity. But the one word that seems to sum it up is “single-mindedness”. Our groom, our husband-to-be expects us to be single-mindedly devoted to Him.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: The Only Good Is Jesus
Printed Music & Lyrics