The Secret of Satisfaction
In Spain there is a very old proverb which says, “All laws go the way that kings desire.” Behind that proverb is an interesting story. About the beginning of the twelfth century there was a debate about whether the country’s churches were to use Gothic or Roman prayer books in their services. The question eventually came before Alfonso VI, who was king at the time. Alfonso decided to leave the matter to chance, so he threw a copy of both prayer books into a fire declaring that the one that survived the ordeal should be chosen. However, when the Gothic missal survived the blaze, the king immediately threw it back into the fire and chose the Roman liturgies. Thus was the matter decided, and the proverb became popular throughout the country.
Many Christians treat the will of God in this manner. They say they want God’s will. They declare that they are leaving the matter up to Him. But then, when God reveals what they are to do, they continue trying to “find out His will,” as they say, until events finally turn out to suit them. When they eventually do get their way-and, of course, find that it does not yield them the satisfaction they had hoped for – many of these persons become confused and desperately unhappy.
Unfortunately, such persons have never learned that true satisfaction in life comes from yielding totally to God’s will in God’s service and that knowing God’s will consists in being willing to do it even before we know what it is.
If you are a Christian, there are hundreds of clear-cut statements for you to consider. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). He said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Peter wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15). He wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. . . . Be sober, be vigilant” (1 Peter 5:6, 8). Paul declared, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1, 2). A list of such verses could be almost endless, but this is enough for our purposes. Do you do such things? Do you work at them?
Let me share a challenge that the great Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon had for the congregations of his day. Spurgeon wrote this about doing God’s will: “Some of you good people, who do nothing except go to public meetings, and Bible readings, and prophetic conferences, and other forms of spiritual dissipation, would be a good deal better Christians if you would look after the poor and needy around you. If you would just tuck up your sleeves for work, and go and tell the Gospel to dying men, you would find your spiritual health mightily restored, for very much of the sickness of Christians comes through their having nothing to do. All feeding and no working makes men spiritual dyspeptics. Be idle, careless, with nothing to live for, nothing to care for, no sinner to pray for, no backslider to lead back to the cross, no trembler to encourage, no little child to tell of a Savior, no grey-headed man to enlighten in the things of God, no object, in fact, to live for; and who wonders if you begin to groan, and to murmur, and to look within, until you are ready to die of despair? Let us have practical Christianity.”
This devotional is a excerpt from the book “The Secret of Satisfaction” by James Boice. If you’d like to read more, you can purchase this booklet in both print and digital formats from ReformedResources.org.