This is the last topic of our Retreat series called ‘iCrave’. The passage we will be referring to is Hebrews 13:5-6.
What is Fulfillment?
“Fulfillment is a sense of satisfaction, contentment, or accomplishment that comes from achieving one’s goals, desires, dreams, or purpose in life.”
However, the reality is that our goals, desires, dreams, and purpose in life are subject to factors such as age, demographic, interests, personality, and many other criteria.
For example, a fulfilled life can vary depending on the individual. For a small child who is just starting to learn the ABC’s, a fulfilled life might mean having enough time to play and have fun in addition to getting their daily portion of milk and sleep. For a teenager who loves music, a fulfilled life might involve having access to the best instruments to learn and practice.
For a young person desiring independence, a fulfilled life might mean being able to move out of their parents’ house, perhaps to study abroad. For a working adult, a fulfilled life could mean having their dream job or owning their own company. For someone who is unmarried, a fulfilled life might involve finding their ideal life partner.
For a married person, a fulfilled life would involve feeling fully loved, appreciated, and taken care of by their spouse. For someone in their middle age working a 9-6 job, a fulfilled life might involve starting their own business that offers freedom and flexibility. For a businessperson, a fulfilled life might mean having a certain number of clients and achieving a certain level of sales. The possibilities are endless.
The problem arises when these desires, which are inherently good, become the sole and ultimate pursuit in life.
– When our goals and aspirations become the sole driving force in our lives.
– When our sense of fulfillment hinges on possessing or lacking these things.
– When we sacrifice all other joys in life in pursuit of a single, ultimate goal.
– When our moods and behaviors are determined by these goals.
– When we prioritize our love for these goals above all else in life.
– When we believe that achieving or possessing them is the only path to true fulfillment.
If we seek fulfillment by relying solely on ourselves, these are the problems we can face.
- Temporary Fulfillment: Pursuing worldly achievements, material wealth, or pleasures often provides only temporary satisfaction. When these sources of fulfillment fade or disappoint, it can lead to a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction.
- Identity Crisis: Relying solely on external factors for fulfillment can lead to an unstable sense of identity. People may tie their self-worth to their successes or possessions, making them vulnerable to identity crises when faced with failure or loss.
- Anxiety and Fear: Without a sense of trust in Christ or a higher power, individuals may become more prone to anxiety and fear. Life’s uncertainties and challenges can feel overwhelming when one’s sense of security is solely based on their own abilities or circumstances.
- Broken Relationships: Seeking fulfillment in relationships alone can put undue pressure on those relationships. Unmet expectations can lead to conflicts and disappointments, potentially damaging personal connections.
- Spiritual Emptiness: Neglecting the spiritual aspect of life can result in a sense of spiritual emptiness or a lack of purpose. Many people find deep meaning and fulfillment in their faith or spiritual practices.
- Moral and Ethical Challenges: Pursuing fulfillment without a moral or ethical framework can lead to questionable choices and actions. People may compromise their values in the pursuit of personal gain or pleasure.
- Lack of Resilience: Those who do not have a strong foundation of faith may struggle to cope with adversity and setbacks. Faith often provides a source of strength and resilience during difficult times.
- Eternal Perspective: One of the central teachings of Christianity is the promise of eternal life. Without faith in Christ, individuals may lack an eternal perspective, focusing solely on this earthly life and potentially neglecting their spiritual well-being.
Hebrews 13:5-6 addresses one such problematic desire that can lead to an unfulfilled life: the love of money. Let’s read the passage.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’“
In the broader context of this chapter, the author of Hebrews provides various exhortations and encouragements to Christians, urging them to live in ways that reflect their faith.
In these verses, the author helps us understand that “Reliance on God’s faithfulness is the only source of true fulfillment.”
When he says “be content with what you have,” he is not only referring to material possessions. He is emphasizing that we should be content in the fact that we have a relationship with God. God promises to never leave us or forsake us. This is why the author continues to write, “for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'”
To be content doesn’t mean that we should settle for a certain salary or remain single if we desire marriage or refrain from pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors.
The author is emphasizing that we should find contentment in the fact that we have God to take care of all our needs and provide the true fulfillment that our hearts desire.
Therefore, relying on God’s faithfulness is what gives us true fulfillment. Let me suggest five ways in which a believer relies on God for their fulfillment.
1. Trust His Promises:
Romans 4:20-21 (ESV) – “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
When we trust in God’s promises, we acknowledge that His plans and purposes for our lives are greater than our own. We recognize that He is trustworthy and capable of fulfilling His promises.
By placing our trust in God, we shift our reliance from our own efforts or external sources of fulfillment to Him. We understand that true fulfillment comes from a deep and abiding relationship with God, rather than from the temporary achievements or possessions of this world.
Trusting in God’s promises also teaches us to surrender control and submit to His guidance. We acknowledge that His wisdom and understanding far surpass our own, and we trust that He will lead us in paths of righteousness and fulfillment.
2. Seek His Guidance:
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Seeking God’s promises means trusting in and actively relying on the assurances and commitments that God has made to His people. It involves believing and holding onto the truth that God is faithful to fulfill His promises.
When we seek God’s promises, we recognize that His words are true and reliable. We understand that His plans for our lives are good and that He is actively working for our well-being. By seeking His promises, we cultivate a deep sense of trust in His faithfulness.
3. Find Comfort in Difficult Times:
Psalm 34:18 (ESV) – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Life is a complex journey filled with numerous challenges, obstacles, and difficulties. It often entails experiencing hardships, sufferings, pain, and various types of discomfort that can test our resilience and strength. However, it is during these trying times when our hearts grow weary and we feel unfulfilled due to unpleasant circumstances that we can turn to God’s unwavering faithfulness for solace and comfort.
1. In the face of adversity, we are given an opportunity to grow and develop as individuals. It is through these tough moments that we learn valuable life lessons and acquire the strength to overcome future obstacles.
2. Despite the trials we encounter, we can take solace in the fact that we are not alone on this journey. God’s faithfulness provides us with a constant source of support and guidance, helping us navigate through the darkest of times.
3. By relying on God’s faithfulness, we can find a renewed sense of hope and purpose. In times of uncertainty and despair, His unwavering presence can inspire us to persevere and find meaning in our struggles.
4. It is important to remember that the discomfort we experience in life is temporary. Just as the seasons change, so do our circumstances. With God’s faithfulness as our anchor, we can find the strength to endure and eventually emerge stronger and wiser.
5. In our moments of weakness, it is comforting to know that God’s faithfulness is not dependent on our own abilities or merits. His love and support are unconditional, offering us a sense of peace and reassurance even in the midst of our darkest days.
6. As we navigate through the ups and downs of life, let us hold on to the belief that God’s faithfulness is constant and unwavering. It is this steadfastness that can provide us with the courage to face any challenge that comes our way.
4. Live with Gratitude:
Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV) – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
To live with gratitude and display reliance on God’s faithfulness for fulfillment, we can:
1. Acknowledge God’s Provision: Recognize that everything we have, including our abilities, resources, and opportunities, comes from God. Show gratitude for His provisions by expressing thankfulness for His blessings and acknowledging His faithfulness in providing for our needs.
2. Count Your Blessings: Cultivate a habit of gratitude by regularly reflecting on the blessings in our lives. Take time to appreciate the simple joys, the relationships we have, and the experiences that bring us happiness. By counting our blessings, we shift our focus from what we lack to what we already have.
3. Pray with Thanksgiving: Incorporate thanksgiving into our prayers. Alongside our requests and petitions, express gratitude to God for His faithfulness, guidance, and provision. Thank Him for His unconditional love, forgiveness, and the gift of salvation.
4. Serve Others: Demonstrate gratitude by serving others and showing kindness. Use our time, talents, and resources to bless others in need. By expressing love and compassion towards others, we reflect God’s faithfulness and extend His blessings to those around us.
5. Share Your Testimony: Share with others how God has been faithful in our lives. Testify to His provision, guidance, and transformative work. By sharing our stories of God’s faithfulness, we inspire and encourage others to rely on Him for their fulfillment as well.
Remember, living with gratitude is not just a one-time act but a continuous attitude of the heart. By cultivating a grateful mindset and acknowledging God’s faithfulness, we demonstrate our reliance on Him for true fulfillment in every aspect of our lives.
5. Maintain Hope:
– Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Maintaining our hope in Christ means placing our trust and confidence in Him, even in the midst of challenges and uncertainties. It involves believing that God has good plans for our lives and that He is actively working for our well-being. Here are a few ways in which maintaining hope in Christ can help us rely on God for fulfillment:
When we maintain hope in Christ, we hold onto the assurance that God is faithful and trustworthy. We can rely on His promises and believe that He will fulfill His plans for our lives. This assurance gives us confidence and peace, knowing that God is in control and working all things together for our good.
Maintaining hope in Christ helps us see beyond our present circumstances. It reminds us that this earthly life is temporary and that our ultimate fulfillment lies in our eternal relationship with God. This perspective enables us to endure challenges and setbacks with resilience, knowing that our hope is anchored in something greater.
When we maintain hope in Christ, we find contentment in His presence and in the relationship we have with Him. We recognize that true fulfillment comes from knowing and experiencing God’s love, grace, and faithfulness. This contentment allows us to focus less on external achievements or possessions and more on cultivating a deep and meaningful connection with God.
Maintaining hope in Christ means seeking His guidance and direction in our lives. We trust that He knows what is best for us and that He will lead us on paths of righteousness and fulfillment. This reliance on God’s guidance helps us make decisions aligned with His will and brings a sense of purpose and fulfillment to our lives.
When we maintain hope in Christ, we tap into His strength and power. We are reminded that we are not alone in our journey and that God is with us every step of the way. This assurance gives us the courage to persevere through challenges, knowing that God’s faithfulness will sustain us and ultimately bring us to a place of fulfillment.
In summary, maintaining our hope in Christ allows us to rely on God for fulfillment by trusting in His faithfulness, gaining a greater perspective, finding contentment in His presence, seeking His guidance, and drawing strength from Him. It is through this reliance on God that we experience true and lasting fulfillment in every aspect of our lives.
In conclusion, true fulfillment is not found in the pursuit of worldly achievements, possessions, or external circumstances. It is not relying solely on our own abilities or the fulfillment of our desires. True fulfillment comes from placing our trust in God’s faithfulness. By trusting in His promises, seeking His guidance, finding comfort in difficult times, living with gratitude, and maintaining hope in Christ, we discover a deep and lasting fulfillment that surpasses the temporary pleasures and achievements of this world. May we continually rely on God’s faithfulness to experience the true and abundant life that He offers.