Where do we get our fulfillment from? Many in our generation would like to tell us that we’re fulfilled by our accomplishments. If that’s the case, then why are so many accomplished people miserable, depressed, and even suicidal?
I’ve been posting about Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. In it, he gives us some insight into this question.
But, brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you — certainly I, Paul, did, again and again — but Satan stopped us. For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.
1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
But first, before I talk about our fulfillment, I want to deal with the translation problem in this verse. Satan can’t stop us. The word Paul used in that verse literally means to cut in front of. It means to hinder or detain. So Satan didn’t stop Paul, and he can’t stop us, either!
Now, back to my main topic. In this small passage, Paul used four different words to describe what he received from the church at Thessalonica.
He says that he has hope – the expectation of great things – because of their faith. He was also filled with joy at the thought of what they were doing for Christ.
Paul then used the word glory, which means weight or importance. By looking at this church, Paul knew that what he was doing was important – it really mattered. He wasn’t just filling time.
These are all wonderful things, but what I really want to focus on is the crown Paul talks about. In the literal Greek, Paul calls it the crown of boasting. What makes this strange is that he is going to have this boasting in the presence of the Lord. Actually, there is a good kind of boasting.
But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:17-18
Here Paul tells us that our boasting should not be about what we’ve accomplished. Instead, it should be about what God has accomplished through us. Understanding the difference will determine whether you’re fulfilled or not.
The principle that we need to learn is that we were not created to accomplish anything on our own. We’re made as vessels for God to work through. My purpose is only fulfilled by what the Lord does in and through me.
That’s why when I look at what I’ve done; it never seems to be enough. There’s always something missing. No matter how great the accomplishment, I look at it and say, “Is that it?”
I am made to do the works of God by His Spirit. Anything less will never satisfy the inner longing. That’s why there are so many unsatisfied Christians. Even our salvation, all by itself, doesn’t quench that thirst. We must allow the Lord to accomplish His plan through us. Anything less will never bring us fulfillment.
Question: What has God done through you that you can boast about in Him?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017