This resource is adapted from the March 2020 edition of our Ezer Equipped monthly newsletter dedicated to equipping our women with content, from both within and outside of our church, to help us continue to grow as disciple and disciple-makers. To subscribe to the Ezer Applied newsletter, click here.
Last month, we discussed how our consumption of food, entertainment, social media, alcohol, and sex can mask our true spiritual hunger. We asked you to take a look at your consumption and see how you might be feeding on things that lack true nourishment. This month we are going to explore the topic of satisfaction. This month does build on last month’s newsletter. So if you are new to our newsletter, or you missed last month’s edition, you may want to go back and work through it first.
In his book Confessions, Augustine wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” We were made for the Lord, so only he can settle the restlessness in our souls. But instead of seeking the Lord, we chase after the wind (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)—feeding on money, success, approval, sex and whatever else promises gratification. And the satisfaction God invites us to receive continues to evade us.
Over and over again, the Scriptures reveal God as the one who provides nourishment for his people. He provides manna in the wilderness, water from rocks, multiplies loaves and fish, and invites us to feast with him free of charge. Jesus even describes himself as living water and the bread of life. The nourishment God holds out to us, in Christ, isn’t meager but abundant. He sets the table for us and invites us to feast on him through his Word, silence and solitude, sabbath, prayer, worship, and communion.
And as if that’s not enough, there’s more! Later on in Jesus’ ministry, weary and hungry from a long journey, the disciples urge Jesus to eat, but rather than eating he said, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about . . . My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and finishing his work” (John 4:31-34). It seems that Jesus found satisfaction and nourishment not only in feeding from God but also in being a conduit through which God fed others.
When I reflect on times in my life I have been most satisfied—content and joyful and at rest—it’s when there has been a regular flow in (God’s Word, prayer, worship, and fellowship with other believers) and out (doing the work God has entrusted to me, serving those in need, and loving my neighbor)! So while God invites us to feast and find satisfaction in him, perhaps what he provides us isn’t just for us. Perhaps we too are supposed to be a conduit through which God nourishes others.
As I think about the women of our church, myself included, some of us are malnourished and need to spend more time with the Lord—feasting on his Word and seeking him in prayer. But others have eaten to the full and now need to empty themselves out for others so that they too may find nourishment in the Lord. Wherever you are, we want to provide you with tools to help you grow in self-awareness and take a step toward the Lord.
Grace Church Women’s Discipleship Advisor
Book: Isaiah 55
This passage highlights the generosity of God and his willingness to nourish and provide for his people.
"Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink—even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk—it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.”
by: Matt Moore
This jarring article highlights the differences between holy and unholy discontentment and why many of us remain dissatisfied with our lives even when feasting on the "right things".
“If Christ’s ‘food’ was to do the will of God and accomplish his work (John 4:34), wouldn’t we do well to feast upon the same things? If discontentment is plaguing your heart today, I challenge you—as I also challenge myself—to put your hands to the plow of God’s purposes for your life.”
Podcast: Fasting and Feasting
by: Revive our Hearts Podcast with Asheritah CiuCiu
In this podcast, Asheritah CiuCiu describes her journey with fasting from lesser things in order to remind her of her need for the Lord.
A quote from the podcast:
“I believe one of the reasons God created us dependent on food, on eating every day, is to give us a metaphor for the same type of spiritual dependence that we should have and do have on Him.”
Sermon: Ministry Focused
by: Bill White
In this short clip from our Core Values Series, Bill White talks about how many of us may not know what it means to be satisfied by Christ because we’ve never been empty.
A quote from the video:
“Unless you sacrifice and pour yourself out where you are genuinely empty, you’re never going to know his supernatural power to fill you.”
We encourage you to use these conversation starters as a means of self-reflection and for discussion within your community.
- The world defines satisfaction as getting what you want. How do you define satisfaction? What did last month’s inventory help you see about what you look to to satisfy you or at the very least take the edge off?
- Do you see yourself as spiritually malnourished? If so, what is contributing to that? How does it impact your relationships with others and your intimacy with God?
The danger of being spiritually malnourished is that we become tempted to look to cheap substitutes, our faith is weakened, we become fragile, and we have nothing substantive to offer others.
3. Do you see yourself as spiritually full? If so, how are you emptying yourself to feed and nourish others?
The danger here is that if I don’t empty myself on behalf of others, I will become spiritually bloated and God’s good gift rots. It is possible to be full of spiritual knowledge but have no real spiritual power.
4. Read Isaiah 55. Take some time to dig into this passage and make a list of everything that he is offering to us.
This passage is an invitation to “come and be filled”—the question is where are you in relation to the table? For example:
- Are you standing at the door, thinking I am not worthy to be at the table?
- Are you nibbling because you are not really hungry?
- Are you surveying what is being offered and walking away because you have no need?
Take time to reflect on what your response may be and consider why.
Where is the hope in this passage? How is it described?
Scripture warns us to not just be hearers of the Word but to be doers of it as well. All of life is repentance. What is a believable next step God is calling you to take in response to all you’ve learned? Pick one or two of the below steps to take.
- Memorize Isaiah 58:11 or Jeremiah 31:25 as a way to remind you of the source of true satisfaction.
- Gratitude and satisfaction are intertwined. If I recognize the rich abundance God offers, then gratitude will follow, which will lead to greater satisfaction. The Israelites were not satisfied with the manna in the wilderness because they longed for the pots of meats they had in Egypt. Think about that! They would rather have the food offered by those who enslaved them than the food offered by a Father who freed them from their slavery and daily provided for their needs. They were guilty of complaining about the manna and hoarding the manna—demonstrating both their ungratefulness and unwillingness to entrust themselves to God.
If you sense your struggle with satisfaction is linked to gratitude, check out the Ezer Equipped edition on Cultivating Thankfulness.
3. God has provided us with access to nourishment (the Scriptures, prayer, communion, sabbath rest, worship, community of faith, and creation). These are called “means of grace”, because they come FROM him FOR us in order to lead us BACK to him.
Which “means of grace” do you need to engage in a more meaningful way? Pick at least one, come up with a plan, and share it with a friend. If you need help, reach out to a friend or contact us.
4. If you discovered that you are spiritually hoarding and you need to “be about the Father’s business”, watch this video where God moved one woman from a place of spiritual consumption to a place of feeding others. Consider an area in your life where you can begin to empty yourself on behalf of others.
This resource is adapted from our Ezer Equipped monthly newsletter dedicated to equipping our women with content, from both within and outside of our church, to help us continue to grow as disciple and disciple-makers. To subscribe to the Ezer Equipped newsletter, click here.