Christian Living

The Only Way to Satisfy the Longings of Your Soul

Author Jonathan Noyes Published on 01/25/2024

Did you make it past Quitter’s Day this year?

By the second Friday of January, most people have thrown in the towel. That’s 14 days max. Many don’t even last that long, but within a fortnight it’s all over for the bulk of them. The majority has completely given up. They quit. Two weeks is the most they can endure. It's all the holding power their New Year’s resolutions have over them.

But why? Why do our best efforts falter so quickly? Why do so many of us just give up? Why can't we consistently keep the virtuous promises we make to ourselves? Because there’s a flaw that keeps us from pressing on to do what we know is good for us. That’s why.

History shows that despite all our best efforts and all humanity’s grand achievements, we still hunger for a significance that remains out of our reach. Even when you don’t quit, even when you keep all your resolutions, you will never be able to satisfy the hunger at the center of your own story by your own efforts. Simply put, you are not enough for you.

This is why every New Year we revisit our commitments to gym workouts, diets, Bible reading plans, etc. It’s a second chance at fulfilling the longings of our soul left unsatisfied from another year gone.

These promises and pursuits stem from an internal longing for something more. You and I long for a new beginning—a second birth, of sorts—because we know there’s so much more for us than life on this earth gives. To C.S. Lewis, this longing was a clue to the meaning of life. “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy,” he said, “the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

The longing we experience points us beyond ourselves. There is a yearning in our hearts for something we can never reach on our own, though we try. We search for significance in earthly treasures and New Year’s resolutions instead of pursuing the only thing that can satisfy our deep desire. Yes, you are not enough, but Jesus is.

Jesus is the one who said, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35). The Psalmist wrote, “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Ps. 107:9).

The only thing that will satisfy our longing in any ultimate sense is knowing Jesus. The only way to know Jesus is through God’s revelation of himself. God tells us why Jesus was born. God chose to send Jesus into our world to renew our fallen understanding clouded by our fatal flaw, sin.

This flaw affects every aspect of creation. We sometimes forget this. For example, we often think that most of the problems with society are “out there” in the actions of others. Or we focus on the effects the flaw has on our physical health, hence the renewed commitment to gym memberships and diet plans this time of year.

We forget, though, that this fatal flaw affects how we think, too. Sin has influenced our ability to reason. Unless God renews our understanding, we will continue to try to satisfy that longing with empty pursuits.

This is what Paul was getting at when he wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).

The only way for us to know God is for him to renew our minds and show us what he’s like. That’s the significance of the incarnation. God came down. He placed himself in our world, in the midst of our human experience. He didn’t shout at us from on high. No, he came down and walked with mankind right here where we live.

Only Jesus, the God-man, can perfectly satisfy the longing left by the false promises of a flawed world. In his song “Satisfy,” hip hop artist S.O. says:

How it feel like, chasing the wind, homie? Don’t we do it all the time? We never chase God but think that the women or the money will forever satisfy. That ain’t what we were designed for, and I can tell you that with my eyes closed or blindfolded. Yeah. It’s mind-blowing, our souls need God cos that there I know, brother, yes, I know that.

At the start of another year, remember that you were made for more than trivial pursuits. There’s nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions, but remember: You will never find ultimate satisfaction in people, possessions, or pursuits. Solomon said that striving after the things of this world is like striving after the wind (Eccl. 2:11). There’s no profit in it.

What we’re really hungering for can only be found in Christ. The longing we experience can only be satisfied if we strive after Jesus. This year, chase Jesus—because Jesus never quits.