By Alisha Headley, Crosswalk.com
We all have a longing to be loved. A desire to feel whole and complete. We strive to fill our emptiness as we feel like there is a missing piece inside of us.
We thirst so desperately to fill this void, that most of us tend to chase lesser loves of this world that we hope will quench our thirst for wholeness. But in reality, these lesser loves leave us still thirsty for more. Sometimes they satisfy us for long seasons of our life, but more often times than not, the satisfaction lasts but for a mere moment.
The truth is all other loves in this world in comparison to our One True Love, our Savior, were never meant to fulfill us here on this side of eternity. Think about this: if lesser loves never disappointed us, then we would have no need for God – our One True Love.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying things of this world. Enjoying things that God created as gifts and resources to us. But that’s just it: they are meant to be simply resources, but not our source. A resource we can turn to, but not the source we trust in. We need to learn how to make God our only source to fulfill our longing above all lesser loves.
Let’s first take a look at the biblical context around where this longing comes from and why it exists.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Jantanee Rungpranomkorn
Where Does This Longing and Thirst Come From?
The reason we thirst after lesser loves is because of the broken world we live in. We long to be complete, yet this fallen sin-filled world we live in can never satisfy this longing. It was God’s design for us to actually live in perfect and complete world with Him. The longing we have is a longing etched into our souls for God Himself. For our human heart was created from a place of perfection in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve chose to eat of the forbidden fruit, the curse of man began, and sin entered the world we live in. (Genesis 3:1-14).
However, as believers, we are promised to live in that perfect world with the Lord one day, and we can cling to this hope of the future. Scriptures says in Revelation 22:3, “that there shall be no more curse [the curse of man will be lifted]”. Not only are we promised the curse will one day be gone, but we are also told in the chapter prior that “…God will wipe away every tear we cry, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) What a beautiful reminder for us to look forward to today. The promise that this sin-filled, disease-stricken, disappointing world we abide in, won’t be our life forever.
We will be made whole one day. But we are not there yet. But we long for it. Therefore, there is a gap. A gap between the world we live in and the world we will one day spend eternity in. This gap is what creates our thirst. We thirst to be whole, but we are not whole yet. This is the reason we chase after lesser loves in hopes to fulfill this gap. It’s why we long for wholeness as we live in a broken world. It’s an empty gap, and in turn, we turn to empty resources to fill that gap.
We must learn how to live this life intentionally to make sure we are chasing after our One True Love, the only One that can fulfill this void we feel on this earth. We must practice putting all lessor loves aside. Otherwise, we will keep thirsting after temporary treasures only to find out we are still left thirsty for more.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Jeremie Cremer
A Thirst That Never Runs Dry
An example in the Bible of someone who was thirsty is the story of Jesus and the Samaritan women He met at the well in John 4. This woman had spent her life thirsting from one relationship to the next. In fact, she had been married five times and her community shunned her for it. She spent her life turning to lesser loves to satisfy her longing, in hopes that each love would fulfill this gap and void she felt.
Now while she was physically thirsty for actual water from a practical sense and this is why she came to the well, Jesus knew she was also thirsty for more, for a Savior. He met her to show her that the lesser loves of this world she was thirsting after would never fulfill her. He was the only One that could give her a lasting and satisfying love.
He said to her John 4:12-14, “whoever drinks of this water [the water the world offers] will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give her will never thirst.” It was at this moment, she realized He was the Messiah, and He was everything she needed, and nothing could satisfy her thirst like Him.
Just like the Samaritan women realized, we too must look at our lesser loves and realize now matter how hard we thirst for those lesser loves, they will never fill the spot designed for the Lord. Jesus is the only one meant to fulfill our thirsts. No lesser loves will ever compete and satisfy those deepest longings we feel inside.
Here are three biblical suggestions on how we can fill our thirsts making God our One True Love rather than spending wasteless time and continuous emptiness thirsting after lesser loves.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/taka4332
1. Identity Your Lesser Loves
In order to stop chasing after lesser loves in our lives, we must first Identity them. A way to identify the lesser loves you turn to is to take inventory of your life on anything, anyone, or any pursuit you have put in front of the Lord.
Ask yourself: where is your focus the majority of the time throughout the day? Think about what it is you’re always thinking about. If you’re not always “thinking on things above” (Colossians 3:2), thinking about our Savior and His purposes for your day, then you have most likely turned whatever you are thinking about into a lesser love.
Perhaps it’s more practical and not something you always have on your mind. Take a look at where you spend your time, money, and resources. Look at your call and text logs and see who you are talking to more than God Himself. Are you talking to your best friend or mother more than the Lord relying on their wisdom above the Lords?
Perhaps you need to evaluate where your heart is at with your career ambition and getting that next promotion. Is this drive to succeed more than the drive to please God? Maybe you’ve allowed your husband or children to become your loves higher than God.
Once you have identified the lesser loves in your life, go to God and repent asking Him to fill your cup up with more of Him. Empty out your cup of lesser loves, and begin your day allowing Him to be your daily nourishment – your daily bread, along with your lasting and living water.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Negative Space
2. Choose to Stop Wavering
Once you have identified your lesser loves and made the decision to put aside these lesser loves, making God your One True Love, you then need to stop wavering between them.
Elijah was called to be a prophet in 1 Kings to the Israelites who had begun to turn to idols as lesser loves, rather than rely on their One True Love. During this time, there was a drought all throughout the land. It had not rained for three and a half years (1 Kings 18:1). Then the Lord came to Elijah and instructed him to gather all the people to Mount Carmel for it was time for Him to send rain down.
It was during this time that Elijah asked an important and foundational question for us living a thirsty life after all our lesser loves. 1 Kings 18:21 says “…Elijah approached all the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is your God, follow Him. But if Baal, follow him…”
This truly is an all-or-nothing question. When I think of the word wavering, I think of the game of hopscotch I played as a child. Jumping on one leg from box to box trying to keep my balance. Other translations for the word wavering use words such as hesitating (HSCB), limping (ESV) and halting (KJV), stopping and starting.
Ask yourself--are you wavering? Are you serving God with a partial heart sharing the throne of your heart with lesser loves? Or does God have the seat of the throne of your heart? Do you find yourself limping in life wavering from one love to the next making you completely off balance?
We must make the decision to stop wavering between making Him our One True Love one day and then serving lesser loves the next day. This makes for a very unbalanced lifestyle. Just as Elijah asked the people that day to make a choice, we too, need to make the choice so we are not hopscotching in life.
Rather, we can allow God, our True Love to “lead us beside the still waters.” (Psalm 23:2) and to “be the lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.” (Psalm 119:105) Let’s choose to stop wavering today.
Photo Credit: ©Sparrowstock
3. Keep an Eternal Perspective
Once we identify those lesser loves and choose to stop wavering between them and God as our One True Love, we must live daily with an eternal perspective. This perspective will remind us when lesser loves come in our lives as shiny objects or people, that we have a Kingdom in Heaven we are living for. That every day is one day closer to our eternal home.
Solomon was man in the Bible that was given the title as the wisest man, “wiser than all other men” (I King 4:29-30). What we find in his old age is that his perspective was one that was eternal. He found everything in this world to be empty and void of meaning. This lament became the theme of the entire book of Ecclesiastes. It is in Ecclesiastes 1:2 where Solomon says which great passion, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
Solomon had it all, tried everything, but when He left God out of the equation pursuing lesser loves, nothing satisfied Him like God: his One True Love. He says that anything other than pursuing God is a meaningless life and described it as nothing but “grasping and chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
We are much like Solomon. Longing for loves of this world to complete our emptiness; that something missing inside of us, only to find it all meaningless in the end. The void and gap in our life was intended for God and God alone. We must get our eyes above the limited perspective of life here on earth and live our life with a Kingdom perspective. For “this world is not our home; as we are looking forward to our everlasting home in Heaven.” (Hebrew 13:14)
We have a perfect union waiting for us, a beautiful perfect eternity with our One True love which consists of nothing but wholeness, completeness, and oneness with Him. Let’s begin the journey now of making God our One True Love thirsting after lesser loves no more.
A Prayer to Make God Your One True Love
Thank you for your unwavering love for us. That no matter what we do, your feelings are the same for us and never change. For its incomprehensible for us to even begin to understand just “how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is His love is for us.” (Ephesians 3:18) Forgive us for wavering between you, who we know and believe in our heart is the one and only God. No thing, person or idea can take your place. You are the “Lord of Lords, and King of Kings.” (I Timothy 6:15) “Name above every other name.” (Philippians 2:9) At times, we have not lived this way. We have depended on lesser loves and idols during seasons of drought just like the Israelites did. At times, we have betrayed you as our first love. Lord, give us a desire and love for you like no other. Prompt us in moments where we can’t see you, that we know you “hear us” (I John 5:14), you’re “near us” (Psalm 145:18), and you have “taken account of our every cry” (Psalm 56:8). We love you Lord, and choose this today, today, to put you as the only true love on the throne of our heart.
In Jesus’ Name,
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/titoOnz