“And he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us: for,
‘in him we live, and move, and have our being;’
as certain even of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring'” (Acts 17:26-28).
Satisfaction does not come automatically to many people.
Sure, life might have been great when we were small children and all our needs were met. But as we grew and gained a bit of a better understanding of our environment, we all sensed that something was not quite right.
We suffered– and continue to suffer– from “dis-ease.” Not illness, per se, but discontent. We are dissatisfied with ourselves. Something is not quite right.
We agonize and search and try to find what is missing so that we may feel whole. We may think the deficiency is within ourselves, and so we seek out self-help materials to better ourselves. Even if we succeed, we still do not find contentment.
Perhaps we need other people, so we go out and develop intimate friendships and relationships. While such make us feel good and loved, we are still lacking something.
We may then turn to money, stuff, entertainment, recreation, or a thousand other pursuits in some attempt to “find ourselves” or “discover inner peace.” Whatever we discover is fleeting. That fundamental discontent remains.
Yet, in the midst of all of this searching, have we ever considered that our discontent is there for a reason?
That, in reality, something is very wrong?
As Paul of Tarsus, the Jew turned Christian, speaks to the Athenians, he does not begin by berating them for their idolatry, despite having the right to do so. Instead, he seeks to find points of commonality, and he finds it in their constant searching. All their “gods” are evidence that they are searching for something and they haven’t quite found it yet. Paul came to tell them that they were right for searching– and yet the object of their search was never far from them.
In fact, it was all around them. They existed within it. Within it they could move and exist. Indeed, Aratus was right– we are all His offspring. Who is He?
He is the One True God, our Creator and Sustainer. He created all men through one man and put it within them to seek after Him. That discontent we experience is the result of our sin having separated us from God, the Author of Life (Isaiah 59:1-2). That discontent can only be satisfied when we turn and are restored in association with God through the blood of Jesus the Christ (1 John 1).
We may not have statues of “gods” lying around, but, on a fundamental level, our challenge is the same. God set it within every soul to seek after Him. Instead of finding Him, however, too many find what God created, and serve the creature rather than the Creator (Romans 1:19-23). The Romans may have done so quite literally, but we today do so through our worship of money, sex, fame, and a host of other “gods” that advertise some kind of “satisfaction.”
We must turn from all of those “gods” and direct our “spirituality” toward its Source, God the Creator. When we do that, we will not have to go very far. The evidence of God and His blessings are everywhere: the gift of the creation, the gift of physical life, the gift of the enjoyments of life, the gift of fellow believers, and, above all, the gift of association with God and immediate access to Him at all times through Jesus (cf. Genesis 1, 1 John 1, Hebrews 4:16).
We are God’s offspring. In God we live and move and have our being. He is not far. Come home!
Ethan R. Longhenry