I often find myself, after spending time in quiet prayer and scripture reading, refreshed, encouraged, and humbled. I find my mind and desires to be oriented as they ought to be––seeking after Christ––and my soul abounding in satisfaction, satisfaction in the riches of Christ.
This “finding oneself” is perhaps best described as a state of subtle surprise, one of “Ah yes, this is what I truly need”, and one of pleasant and satisfied endings. Yet, the surprise itself, one that is often of weekly, or greater, occurrence provides not an occasion of pleasant conclusions but an occasion of the acknowledgment of a condition of detrimental, partial amnesia. This forgetting, and remembering, of the riches of Christ provides an “in-between” zone where one lives largely void of the mindset he has during time spent in prayer, in reading, in fellowship with Christ. He forgets, then chooses to pray out of the power of his will, out of guilt, or perhaps out of something else, rather than joyfully excusing himself early from lunch to be with Christ, his delight, his favorite.
A few months ago I began asking a question related to this topic to a few of my friends. It went something like this, “What are you doing when you are most satisfied in Christ? That is, in what activity in your life are you most convinced of the worth of Jesus?” I received a variety of answers in my asking, such as reading/studying scripture, praying with other believers, praying alone, worshipping alone, doing ministry, sharing the gospel, hearing testimonies, and attending church. As I began thinking through the answers I thought of a second question––why is that activity, whatever it is, not your absolute favorite thing in the world?
If you are most satisfied in Christ while you pray alone, with others, or when you share the gospel shouldn’t you adore that activity more than any other thing you can do? shouldn’t you find yourself stealing away from the evening activity to be on your knees behind a closed door, find yourself texting your friends to organize a prayer meeting, or seriously looking for opportunities to share the gospel each and every day?
I cannot claim, on any solid ground, stealing away to pray is my favorite thing in the world, but it’s something, since pondering such a question, I have attempted to do more. As I penned in the opening lines, I, after being shut up to God for a period of time, find myself to be satisfied in the riches of Christ, and to be convinced of His worth.
I think, then it is often the sheer lack of time spent shut up to God, time spent in quiet prayer, that provides the breeding ground for this detrimental, partial amnesia. We forget how much being alone with God satisfies us, how precious it is to our souls, so we trade it for a daily devotional over a bowl of corn flakes. There’s nothing wrong with a morning spent in that way but it is easy, and I speak from experience, to treat Christ as something to be checked off the to do list instead of finding delight in Him.
I was reminded of such a cycle as this when I, after rounding out a busy and hard-to-be-alone three weeks of traveling, read, in the quiet evening air of my bedroom, Psalm 23. When I reached verse three it hit me. Not because I remembered but because I read it––He restores.
We ought to eagerly look to Christ for satisfaction not to a “task” accomplished, and we know it. As the Psalmist in Psalm 90 declares, “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” we likewise ought to seek Christ to be satisfied by Him, in Him. We find more of the same “delight driven” speech in Psalm 16:11, 92:4, and 119:14. They say, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”, “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.”, and, “In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.”, respectively.
God is the satisfier of our souls, what they long for, what they thirst for, nothing else, we read that in John 6:35. Let us then be found being, and seeking to be, satisfied in Christ Jesus each morning, each day and be found running, as fast as we can, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, from being “surprised” at the fact that Christ restores. 1 Corinthians 1:8 says He, Jesus Christ, will sustain us to the end––we ought not be surprised by that but rather clutching to it, to Christ.
Furthermore, Paul says, in Philippians 1:23, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” and we should take note. Christ is better, than anything, even life itself as we read in Psalm 63:3 (Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you). That shouldn’t be a surprise to the believer, to the one whose life is hidden in Christ, and to the one whose delight is in Him. Is it not true, then, that this partial, detrimental amnesia is nothing more, as so many things are, than a condition of our heart we ought to be praying and working to be quit and rid of? He restores, remember?