“Open your mouth wide and I will fill it…” Psalm 81:10
Baby birds from my backyard...
We launched a new series called My Network in which we’re looking at our natural relational networks and how we become “bringers and includers” to the life of Jesus lived out in us. In the setup I mentioned that before we look at any tools, techniques, methodologies or ideas, we have to begin at square one: what’s the satisfaction quotient in your relationship with Jesus? The reason the disciples were so effective was because they couldn’t help but talk about what they had discovered and experienced. Thus, the old maxim: the best salesperson is a satisfied customer.
This is a dangerous area to walk through and could easily go south. I was waiting for: “I thought this wasn’t about me, but all about others? I mean, isn’t that what you talk about all the time, Mr. Smartypants Preacher Guy? So what’s this ‘I-need-to-be-a-satisfied-customer’ stuff?”
Okay, it’s a little tricky. Are we wandering into “bless-me-Christianity” world? Aren’t American Christians already obesely consumeristic?
Truth is, scripture is very clear that in the mind-blowing covenant God has made with justified, reconciled and transformed followers of Jesus, there should be an experiential transaction, a revelatory sense of God’s overwhelming goodness, fullness and presence. In other words, Pascal’s “God shaped vacuum” has to be experienced in a felt, known way or else we can’t really know God, only things about Him. I want to know my wife—if you know what I mean—and not just know things about her. And so scriptures like “Taste and see that the Lord is good”, or “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” or “No one will have to teach his neighbor or brother, ‘know the Lord’, for they will all know me…” have a definite experiential tone.
In other words, there is some internal sensing that something has been deeply fulfilled in us, a “knowing” that nothing else could have satisfied what was missing. When God told Israel to “open your mouth wide and I will fill it”, He was telling a people in covenant with Him that they were missing something vital in their relationship with Him: his ability to fulfill the deepest longings of our souls. He was frustrated with a nation that ran off to other lovers, other gods, trying to satisfy some craving that could only be met in Him.
I’ve always thought it odd when people would say to me, “I think God is whatever you want to make Him.” I personally don't have a problem with that. I think everyone has the right (whatever that means) to believe whatever they want. The only one who might find that odd is God. When my kids were little, if I came home from work and found them hugging the TV and saying "Daddy, daddy", I would be more than a little concerned. And probably my heart would be broken. Don't you think God's heart breaks when He sees His children wanting intimacy and fulfillment with everything but Him...and He's the only one that can truly give them what they really need?
My children act like my children and treat me like their dad because I am their dad. It is the most natural thing for them. The creation responds (or should respond) to the Creator in gratitude; it is the natural order of the universe. God, with a touch of sarcastic humor, told Isaiah “Even a cow knows its owner, even a donkey knows where its barn is. But Israel, my son, avoids me…” (Is. 1:3). When I humble myself before God in worship, I am affirming once more that He made me and I belong to Him. In my Father’s house I am safe and warm.
And a satisfied person.
That should make me incredibly open about what I’ve discovered and experienced in Jesus. To do anything less would be antithetical to God’s personality, the personality I’ve experienced.