“You see, the deep dissatisfaction growing within you, awakened by a cynical and greedy world, is actually a genuine call from the depths of your heart.”
Years ago, I read Amusing Ourselves to Death, an older book containing prophetic insight into today’s world. The book suggests that advertisers are no longer content just to tell you about their product. Instead, they have ventured into the new, larger purpose of making you feel discontent with everything you have. Your life is painted as empty, meaningless, and void. If they can get you to believe that, you become the “ultimate consumer,” focused on filling the void. It no longer matters what the product is because you, believing the lie, will now go for anything.
This manipulation is evident in many commercials these days… I mean how many times do you turn to someone beside you and say “what was that ad for?” If the person beside you is really tuned in, she’ll say something like “it was to make you feel empty and lost without buying something today.” And that would be true. Frighteningly true.
The deep discontent bleeds into all areas of life, and soon we have people who are not satisfied with their marriages, not satisfied with their jobs, not satisfied with their churches. Not satisfied with God. Consumers—that’s what we’ve become, and it damages us deeply.
Through millions of messages every day, we start to believe we were created to consume. Stop to think for a minute about how that effects every relationship you have. It begins to revolve around … you guessed it … you. Everyone exists in your life to serve you. You become the very centre of all existence—your happiness and your “felt” success are the only things that matter. People that don’t make you feel good or help you to achieve are discarded. Churches that don’t fill your “need” are left and new ones are found. Pastors who don’t cater to your expectations are unnecessary, traded for those who do. People are bought and sold. This is a deeply cynical view, but I believe it is based in reality.
Sometimes when I talk to people about their deep dissatisfaction with (whatever it is at the time), I ask them to dig a bit further. What does the marriage you are looking for look like exactly? What does the organization you’d love to work for look like specifically? What is your ideal job? Who is your ideal mate? What makes you happy? People often have no idea, because we live in a world that has created a need without a vision for filling that need with truth.
At the conference in Ireland, I recounted the story of Jesus on the mountain of transfiguration and how the three disciples were able to encounter the “more” of God through the incredible display of His glory. Blinding light, prophets as visions, a voice from heaven—it doesn’t get more like a movie than that. The disciples are overwhelmed and Peter politely suggests they ought to stay on that mountain. But Jesus suggests something very different: that this little mountain experience is just a taste of a “greater glory” that is emerging in the world. You kind of hear the disciples take a breath and wonder how that could be possible. What could be greater, what could be the “more” after something so spectacular as this?
And that’s when Jesus subtly drops the “more”—that Jesus will be beaten, suffer and die for the brokenness of the world. Whoa. The disciples couldn’t even take it in. “You want more?” Jesus asks. “I’ve got it.” The more of God is called sacrificial love. “Nothing is greater than this: when a man lays down his life for his friends.”
You see, the deep dissatisfaction growing within you, awakened by a cynical and greedy world, is actually a genuine call from the depths of your heart. Jesus paid a price so you could encounter not just signs and wonders and wrinkle free cream and houses and whatever kind of food you want at whatever time you want it. Rather, he purchased the “more” that is the deepest of your heart cry—more love. More sacrificial love. More spilled out love. More felt love. More realized love. More love with skin on and actions attached, more love that exists for the loved rather than for the lover. More love.
Ultimately, to love and be loved is the deepest of our hungers and the only thing that will actually satisfy. That’s why Jesus said to a very broken and lost woman at a well thousands of years ago—”if you knew who you were talking to you’d ask me for a drink. I’ve got living water.” More? Yes please.
So if you are suffering with the disease of our days, the signs of our times, if you have a growing dissatisfaction deep inside your bones—don’t despair and don’t be fooled. That awakened giant will not be settled with more food, stuff, surgery, sex, or outfits. It will be satisfied with love. Let God love you, deeply. Not just on mountains but in valleys and suffering and even in death. Let His living water fill you with more.
Image credit: Michael Pereckas