Gratification is not satisfaction

“And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

The flesh craves gratification, while the spirit seeks satisfaction. The difference between the two can be hard to tell when we’re caught up in the day-to-day struggles of life. We get the car, the house, or the spouse we were after, but after a while, when the novelty wears off, many of us find ourselves yearning for more. Why?We were seeking gratification, to be pleased. When the car becomes a responsibility and not just a toy on wheels, or it needs maintenance, it stops being a pleasure. The same can be said for houses and spouses, though not always for the same reasons. With a house, the pleasure of acquisition can be followed by the realities of maintenance, repairs, taxes, and so on, and the time-consuming nature of some of those responsibilities. The truth of the matter is that very often our lack of satisfaction can be found in our motives. Especially when it comes to marriage, a lot of times the ebbing away of our initial passion and intensity of love has to do with the fact that we were to some degree seeking to please ourselves, and once confronted with the complexities and struggles of a relationship, especially with a spouse who proves to be difficult in one or more areas, we cease to be so pleased.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want a home, a nice vehicle, or a spouse, or any of the good things in life, but rather that we can sometimes deceive ourselves about our true motives and intentions. Many christians marry to gratify their carnal lusts, and have not mentally or emotionally prepared themselves for the principal challenge of a marriage relationship: putting the other person first. Our selfish nature tends to rear its head fairly early on, if only in small ways.¬†What then is the answer?

Being guided by the Lord in our decisions is key, and we usually know this, but tend to shy away from it even when we claim to be spirit-led, because we’re usually afraid that what God has for us isn’t as bright and shiny as what we’ve been looking for, so to speak. However, God does know us better than we know ourselves, and he is well able to direct us toward decisions that result in lasting fulfillment. With gratification, there can be pleasure, and even happiness, but it never lasts. There is always a need to ‘top off,’ or continue to chase the good feelings we’ve gained from what we’ve been doing. However, when being led of the Lord, as stated above, we’re like the watered garden, which doesn’t need to look for water or hope for rain; it is being tended to. An unfailing spring needs to do nothing but flow; its water comes from its source.

That being said, what has been the source of the satisfaction you seek? Take some time to consider this prayerfully, and watch your life begin to change.