The challenge of walking with the God who knows me  

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Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.

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Copyright © 2012 by Derek Leaf . Not to be copied for commercial purposes.  Permission is granted to copy the unaltered, attributed page for non commercial purposes.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17

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Ecclesiastes 2:10-11

“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure... Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done ... everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

One day I was talking with my boss at one of our breakfast mentoring sessions.  He wanted me to learn to observe the workers, to try to gauge their well being.  He asked me:  “What have you noticed about Joe since he joined us?”  I confessed that I had not noticed anything.  My boss came back “He must have put on about 15 pounds in the few months since he joined us.  You see Joe isn’t happy.  He’s doing something he likes to compensate for his unhappiness at work, he’s eating a lot.  Now because of that I don’t think Joe's going to be here much longer.”  He was right, Joe left within a month.  Then he went on.  “Have you noticed anyone else who is unhappy?”  No I hadn’t.  “Well, what about Chris?  He flies to Colorado almost every weekend to go Skiing.  He isn’t happy either.”

It was a year or two after this that I noticed that my boss was not happy.  He came up to me with a little riddle.  He said that had gone up to a city north of us at 150 MPH but hadn’t broken the speed limit.  How had he managed it?  I was floored, no idea.  He had taken up flying lessons and had flown.  It was also about this time that he purchased a Porch sports car and started to look for an antique Ford.  He was compensating his unhappiness with the thrill of speed and prestige vehicles.  I later realised that his unhappiness sprang from the need to set down to management and was missing the thrill of innovation that we had had at the beginning of the project.

From this, I began to notice when I was unhappy.  I noticed that I would give myself to little projects, or to eating chocolate or writing computer programs.  It seemed that when I started to give into this sort of feeding of myself with something outside of Jesus, that though it started in a small way, it was soon a raging hunger that needed continual feeding to satisfy it.  It became a drive that consumed me.

My challenge is not so much recognising the behaviour as directing my attention to Jesus when I can see that I am suffering under it.  Jesus says, “I am the bread of life, he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”  (John 6:35) The problem I face is, that when I am responding to these hunger urges that come from a lack of satisfaction in life, then I do not feel the least inclination to seek Jesus who is the one most able to satisfy this deep hunger of the soul.  All that I desire is to go to these things that I enjoy in order to compensate myself.  I know all too well however that they do not really satisfy.  They satisfy the first time and then maybe a few times afterwards, but each time it is less and less.  Eventually I have to chase after these cravings full pelt in order to gain the least satisfaction.  When, on the other hand, I recognise what is going on, and with the abounding grace of Jesus confront the issue by going to him, and feeding on him, then over time I find him and find the satisfaction that only he can give.  As he says:  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV) Practically, what I do is spend time meditating on a passage of the Bible and praying about the thoughts that arise from it.  I will usually pick a passage in the Psalms or the end of Isaiah that is worshipful, so my eyes are lifted to God.