Friday, 16 September 2011

Dissatisfied Satisfaction

The Christian life is one of dissatisifed satisfaction. On the one hand we ought to recognise that we have everything in Jesus, and rest satisfied in Him. However, on the other hand, since we are not yet in glory, we do not love Him, desire Him or delight in him as we ought. Our Christian life is lived out in a tension between the now and the not yet. This is a tension that John Newton, author of  the hymn Amazing Grace, recognised. In a letter to a friend he says:
I know what I ought to desire, and what I do desire. I point him out to others as the All-in-all; I esteem him as such in my own judgment; but, alas! my experience abounds with complaints. He is my sun; but clouds, and sometimes walls, intercept him from my view. He is my strength; yet I am prone to lean upon reeds. He is my friend; but on my part there is such coldness and ingratitude, as no other friend could bear. But still He is gracious, and shames me with his repeated multiplied goodness. Oh for a warmer heart, a more simple dependence, a more active zeal, a more sensible deliverance from the effects of this body of sin and death! He helps me in my endeavours to keep the vineyards of others! but, alas! my own does not seem to flourish as some do around me. However, though I cannot say I labour more abundantly than they all, I have reason to say with thankfulness, By the grace of God I am what I am. My poor story would soon be much worse, did not He support, restrain, and watch over me every minute.
Therefore, as we wrestle with a dissatisfied satisfaction, as we wrestle with how little our love for Jesus is, let us look back in thankfulness and say "By the grace of God I am what I am", and look forward in thankful longing to what we will be one day when we see Jesus face to face.