The relentless “next”


*Updated, I now have the message at the end of the article.

Have you ever noticed that everything is wanting your “next” in life? Let me see if I can explain. The other day I opened my computer and logged on to Facebook to see what all my friends were doing. When the page popped up, so did a whole line of advertisements. It appeared my next diet and a “better me” was just one click away, as well as my next degree, credit card, even my next Christian girlfriend, regardless of the fact my profile says “married.” There is also the constant prodding from people that want more out of you, like your boss wanting that next big idea! The “next” in life constantly beckons us, like a relentless fly buzzing around keeping us from enjoying the “now”. Truthfully, the “next” in life is inevitable, and there will always be one right after another, because “next” is never satisfied.
(Matthew 5:6 ESV)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Wow, did you notice that word? The word everyone would love to truly claim as the descriptor of their soul’s status. SATISFIED. Is that even possible? What if there was a “next” that actually satisfied? The original Greek word for satisfied is “chortazō,” and means “to fill up.” Imagine a really hot summer day and you have just finished mowing the lawn. Noticing you’re exhausted and dehydrated from baking in the sun, someone gives you a huge glass of water. At that moment it’s more than just a glass of water, it’s exactly what you’re longing for. That’s what this word means: you are satisfied with the very thing you long for.
The next logical question is “how?” How do you achieve satisfaction?
To understand this we must look at the ancient phrase “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” (For the five people that care, “peinaō kai dipsaō dikaiosynē”). This is actually a really powerful idea that is kind of lost in translation. To paraphrase with modern vernacular, it can mean “the journey to being right” or “the process of pursuing a right status” with God.
So here it is… When we embark on the journey of being right with Christ, our deepest longings can be satisfied. Unlike salvation, spiritual satisfaction is not something we fully and immediately receive, it’s something we can experience more and more throughout the journey.
So when the “next” in life is calling out to you–a television commercial, a billboard on the side of the road, or even a feed on Facebook–instead of investing your energy in something that’s never been able to satisfy you before, join with those of us on the journey toward God.
So how do we do this?
1) Do what’s right over how you feel. Right feelings follow right action. Your heart shouldn’t lead you, TRUTH should.
2) Don’t quit. Remember, Biblical satisfaction isn’t a badge you earn and then you always have it. It’s the continual process that IS what gestates satisfaction.
3) Think strategically.  You don’t trip into Biblical satisfaction, it comes with intentional planning.

This week I’ll be preaching about constructing an intentional razor-sharp focus on what the Biblical “next” should be and how that journey leads to satisfaction.  I’ll keep you posted when it goes live!

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