If you were asked to give the definition for the word “satisfy”, what would you say? Really, think about it. Would you say that to “satisfy” is to fill up, or to make happy, or something like that? “Satisfy” is a theme that I’ve seen come up often in God’s Word, and it had left an impact on my life. But I didn’t really get it until I saw the definition of the word.
1. To gratify the need, desire, or expectation of.
2. To fulfill (a need or desire).
3. To free from doubt or question; assure.
4. To discharge (a debt or obligation, for example) in full.
5. To make reparation for; redress.
Honestly, those definitions just blew everything out of the water for me. So, let’s look at it a bit at a time. First things first, we know that Jesus’ sacrifice satisfied the Father’s wrath. What Jesus did on the cross discharged our debt to God in full. His death fulfilled the need for a blood sacrifice in order for us to have a relationship with Him. It made reparation for our sins. It satisfied. It didn’t make God happy to see His Son die, but His sacrifice satisfied Him. This blows me away.
Knowing that Jesus has satisfied the Father for us and discharged us from our debt in full, let’s look at what else God’s Word says about “satisfy”. Psalm 17: 15 says, “And I- in righteousness I will see your face when I awake, and I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” David was saying that when he wakes up in the morning, all he wants is to see is God’s face, and that would satisfy him. He wanted to be satisfied first thing in the morning, so he could remain satisfied for the rest of the day. David believed that God would fulfill the needs, desires, and expectations in his life. He believed that God was everything he wanted or needed, and His love would satisfy him and be all he needed in order to live.
And okay, so it’s good to be satisfied. We were made to be satisfied. But, we were also made to not be satisfied. Don’t check out yet! Spending time in the Word, I believe, has shown me specifically two things to be satisfied with and two things to not be satisfied with.
To Be Satisfied
So, how easy is it to try to satisfy ourselves with something other than God? I mean, how many of us wake up with absolutely no one or nothing on our mind and hearts than Jesus? I’m sure some do, and that’s great, but how many of us continue the whole day completely satisfied by Him, not feeling compelled to turn to anything else? Who really goes the whole day not desiring attention or affection or approval or acceptance from the world? But that’s just what wants us to receive from Him.
You see, if we find our identities in Christ and are a child of God and are marked by the Holy Spirit, we are found in Him. We don’t need to struggle to belong in the world, because by the blood of Jesus, we belong in His arms. Psalm 139:17-18 tells us that He thinks about us all the time- individually! His thoughts about each one of us outnumber the grains of sand. So believe me when I say that all of the attention you could ever need or want can be found in Him. His affection for you is great. (Just look at Isaiah 41 or 43, or Psalm 139, or the cross.) You’ve been accepted by Him. You’ve been approved. Be satisfied with that instead of striving to find those things in the world. No matter how hard you try, if you’re trying to satisfy yourself with the world’s acceptance, affection, attention, and approval, you’re always going to be empty inside. God is enough. He promised He’d be everything you need. In John 6, Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” Whoever goes to Him will be satisfied in their soul.
And looking at the definition of “satisfy”, you can see that God satisfies in every way possible. Other than fulfilling every need and desire, He frees us from doubt. His promises and Truth free us to live in grace and love, trusting Him instead of doubting and allowing fear to rule our lives. He made reparation to the Father for us. We’re talking He who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. I think it’s safe to say His love satisfies. He satisfies. He’s worthy of satisfying us. Isaiah 66:11 says (and before you read this, know that in verse 13 it says that God is also a mother figure to His children. Weird to think about, but I promise it’s in there!) “For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance.” Not only does He satisfy when you drink in deep, but you end up delighting in overflowing abundance. God goes beyond satisfaction. (Matt. 14:20)
The second thing I found that God wants us to be satisfied with (Yeah, I counted that last thing as one thing. I don’t know.) is who God made us to be. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others- looking in the distorted mirror of the world instead of the mirror of Christ. You were fearfully and wonderfully made, blessed with unique talents and a unique soul. This is simple, but doesn’t it slip our minds so often? Since we are made in God’s image, it’s His will for us to be satisfied with how He made us. That means our physical appearance, our soul, our talents, our circumstances. That means not trying to be someone we’re not and praising God for how wonderfully and fearfully made we are. If you take it a step further, it could also mean being satisfied with how God made others.
To Not be Satisfied
Legalism. Complacency. These are two things that Christians know they should avoid like the plague. But when it gets down to it, they’re both matters of satisfaction.
Ahh, legalism. I think the very attitude of the L word that Jesus used to describe the Pharisees could be summed up by a note for Matthew 18 in the NIV Student Bible that said, “If I manage to meet all the requirements of a strict rule book, I may begin to feel secure about my goodness. In fact, I may even think I have earned God’s approval through my own efforts. Both Jesus’ enemies (the Pharisees) and His friends (the disciples) seek a precise list of rules so they can feel they have fulfilled their obligations to God, which then gives them a sense of satisfaction. To such people, Jesus shouts a loud, ‘No!’”
Sometimes I convince myself that my works satisfy God. “Well, I just read a chapter in my Bible. Therefore, my religious duties have been fulfilled for the day. God is satisfied now. I may now continue.” But that kind of thinking is selfish. I don’t really wanna satisfy God when I’m thinking like that; I wanna satisfy myself! I’m trying to make myself feel good about my self-righteousness. That’s legalism! If I really wanted to satisfy my God, I’d remember that it’s by Jesus’ sacrifice that God was satisfied and salvation is a gift, not a reward. In John 6: 28-29, Jesus was inquired by a crowd who wanted to know “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One he has sent.” You know, He did all the work for us. Instead of trying to satisfy ourselves by being “religious” enough, we should be satisfied by believing that we don’t have to be “religious”. Instead of being legalistic, we should walk in the liberty that Christ gave us. Easier said than done, but I believe it begins by being honest at how you are satisfied. I can promise you that if you’re being religious so you can feel satisfied, your love relationship with the Lover of your soul will be compromised. He will always love you, but operating this way will make you like a Pharisee- your mouth may glorify Him, but your heart will be far away. But on the bright side, you will be satisfied with feeling that you saved yourself by your own strength… not that it will get you anywhere but desperate for God’s grace.
Complacency is defined by “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”. Sadly, this is often the reality of many of us. We get to the point where we’re satisfied with where we are with God, unaware or apathetic to our spiritual deficiencies. There’s so much more God could do with us, so much farther into His heart we could press into. But sometimes we like where we’re at. We’re comfortable. You know how it is. An example could be maybe we want to be close enough to God to leech off His benefits, but not close enough to actually get called to do something uncomfortable. Maybe we like having God on Sunday mornings, but when it comes to school, we have our own lives to live. Your relationship is “good enough”, but you’re scared that if you go any further, God might actually try to, y’know, rule your life or something. Imagine that. You’re satisfied, and that’s that. Don’t be satisfied with where you are with God! There’s always more! Think about your eternity- you’re gonna spend all of eternity learning something new about Him, being brought closer to the One you love. There is always more. Don’t settle for self-satisfaction accompanied by unawareness of deficiencies.
I guess you could say satisfaction is a big part of a Christian’s life. I mean, we’re all made to be satisfied, but in God’s eyes, there are certain ways to do it. (You know, we’re called to have an insatiable love for Jesus, the One who satisfies. Try thinking that through.) Of course, I’m not saying “Do not enjoy your life! Don’t let anything make you happy!” All I’m saying is that if you let God satisfy you, He’ll be everything you need, and as a result of letting Him satisfy you, you’ll come back wanting more. As a final thought, take a look at Deuteronomy 8:10-18, and don’t forget to drink deeply and delight in the overflowing abundance. Love satisfies.