Ever since man’s fall in the Garden of Eden, a vacuum exists in his experience. Man’s efforts to fill the void and direct his life fail to meet his deepest desires. They also fail to satisfy the God who created man in His own image. God has faithfully revealed the right way, but man has revealed the wrong ways to seek fulfillment in life.
There are three different ways one can choose to live. Asceticism, which is people’s effort to please God by strict self-denial. People who practice this hope to gain merit with God by depriving themselves. They are denying the rightfulness of what God has created for man’s good. It is a selfish way to live. A lifetime of asceticism cannot bring fulfillment or acceptance with God.
Undisciplined living is the second way people try to find fulfillment. This is the opposite of asceticism. It allows whatever feels good now. People think they can believe and act as they please without consequences. Such living is a choice to forget God. It obviously doesn’t satisfy the soul, because it constantly requires something new and different. Just observe American recreation and commercialism.
Then we have the right way to live, which is the way of Christian discipleship. Jesus taught this way in Matthew 16:24-27, “Then said Jesus to His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life will lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. For what is a man profited, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what should a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man will come in the glory of His Father with his angels; and then he will reward every man according to his works.”
First, we must repent of all our sins and trust in Jesus’ blood for salvation. Jesus will be our Lord and King and we will live for Him because we love Him. We will deny ourselves of sinful things for His glory, not for merits. We will serve Christ, not ourselves, as we exercise the gifts He gives us. God’s way will satisfy our soul both now and in eternity. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
(Monterey D. Lee, Sr. is the pastor of Celebration Christian Center, Inc. located at 1215 9th Ave. N., Nashville, Tenn. 37208. For more information, visit their website at www. celebrationchristian.online.)