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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Settling is never God's plan

The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less.
(2 Corinthians 5:5)

What a joy it is to realize that what we experience of God today is only a taste of him - we only experience in part what one day we will experience in full.  A taste of what is ahead is often all we have to go on as we step out in our faith walk each day.  We don't know what to expect, but we do know who to expect to be alongside as we take those steps.  

When one "whets" the appetite - it is kind of like eating appetizers.  We could fill up on them, but if we did that we'd miss the good stuff just about to come around the corner!  That which "whets" our spiritual appetite is designed to make us eager, living in anticipation of what will be revealed next.  We learn to yearn when we have learned the purpose of the appetizer!

That which "whets" our appetite will direct our attention - it makes us eager, keenly aware of whatever is coming.  The Holy Spirit has the mission of giving us "tastes" of God's goodness, protection, love, etc. - in preparation for God to reveal even greater evidence of these things in our lives.  A little of heaven is in our heart - not because God only wants us to experience only limited measures of his goodness - but because he wants us to never settle for less than him.

A little bit of us wants more of what we experience of God's goodness, but a little bit of us struggles with the idea of the investment of time, energy, and attention that waiting on what God has next.  We often find that we "settle for less" when we are not willing to wait for the "best".  In God's economy, little things add up to bigger things - the least become first, the best is held for last, etc.  If God revealed all he has for us, all his glory to us at one time, we'd not be able to handle it!

What we do with our appetites determines our end result.  Responding to the right "appetites" is paramount to not "settling for less".  Later in this chapter, Paul tells us, "Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you."  Closeness with God - drawing near to him - is a response to the whetting of our appetites.  As we experience small blessings, we desire bigger blessings.  As we enjoy small glimpses of his glory, we yearn for the full revelation of his glory.  As we are entreated toward his loving arms, we envision the ecstasy of being enveloped fully in his unconditional love.

Someone once told me that we have as much of God as we want - as much of him as our appetites will allow us to consume.  It is kind of like the difference between stopping at a burger joint and sitting down to a home-cooked meal complete.  Both will "fill us up", but each produces a different sense of satisfaction.  One was quick, easy, and relatively "inexpensive" to obtain.  The other took time to procure, prepare, and participate in.  It could not be "eaten on the run" because it was not "designed" to be partaken of in that manner.  The most meaningful of God's blessings are meant to be partaken in the stillness of the moments spent with him - not on the run!

God may be whetting your appetite for more of him - designing specific revelations of his grace, mercy, and love - in order that you will not settle for the things that quickly fill you, but then leave you less than satisfied in the results they provide.  Let us learn that "settling" is never God's plan - it is in anticipating more that we learn to not "settle" for less!