18 Jul 2009

Holy Dissatisfaction

Submitted by Paul Brown

I've been reading through How People Change by Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp in preparation for our Regeneration retreat next weekend, and the book is full of quotable paragraphs. I read a passage in the book this morning that particularly encouraged me, and so I share it here. From the chapter entitled "Thorns 1: What Entangles You?" (p. 119 of the second edition):

God calls you to be dissatisfied. You should be discontent, restless, and hungry! The Christian life is a state of thankful discontent or joyful dissatisfaction. That is, I live every day thankful for the grace that has changed my life, but I am not satisfied. Why not? Because, when I look at myself honestly, I have to admit that I am not all I can be in Christ. I am thankful for the many things in my life that would not be there without his grace, but I will not settle for a partial inheritance!

In this sense, it is right for me to be discontent. It is right for me to want nothing less than all that is mine in Christ. He does not want us to enjoy only a small portion of the riches he has given us. He calls us to wrestle, meditate, watch, examine, fight, run, persevere, confess, resist, submit, follow, and pray until we have been transformed into his likeness.

This life of self-examination and joyful discontent should not be confused with a life of paralyzing self-condemnation. God does not call us to self-loathing, but to a willingness to examine our lives in light of our hope as new creatures in Christ. That hope is not only based on the promise of forgiveness, but on his promise of personal deliverance and restoration as well. The same grace that has forgiven me is now in the process of radically changing me. I should not be satisfied until that transformation is complete. (Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp How People Change)

This brought to mind a couple of other quotes:

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." (C.S Lewis, The Weight of Glory—I think)

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (The Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:10-14


Thanks for sharing, Paul. It's good to be discontent and understand that it is really about the desires that are deep within us. We want heaven, but not having it, we can tend to become apathetic and lethargic.

At its best "discontent" leads us to ask what it is we want and then set out to bring a little heaven on earth. People who are truly alive feel things. I want to feel things deeply... even when that feeling is discontent.

P. S. Any chance of getting a "subscribe to comments" option on your blog?

I added a block to the sidebar and created a feed for it. Have a look and see if that's what you had in mind. Drupal is very flexible on those things, so I can make it do pretty much whatever I want (or whatever you want!).