20th March 2011

Inner Emptiness Filled

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 (NIV UK)

In his book, Emotional Intelligence, author Daniel Goleman notes that each successive generation suffers from a higher risk of depression than its parents. In the last half of the 20th century the phrase “existential vacuum” began to be used to refer to this phenomenon. Famed psychologist Viktor Frankl lamented the fact that more than half of American college students felt they lived with a state of “inner emptiness”.

In 1968, when college freshmen were asked what their personal priorities were, 41 per cent said that they wanted to make lots of money, but more than twice as many, 83 per cent, said they wanted to develop a meaningful philosophy of life. By 1997, the pattern was significantly different: 75 per cent of freshmen said their priority was to be very well off, but only 41 per cent put the priority on having a meaningful philosophy of life.

Today, it seems that most Americans have material wealth as their primary goal and primary concern. But just watching the television news, we see a non-stop parade of people who have achieved the goal of abundant material wealth, yet are often in the news because of such “inner emptiness” as crippling depression, failed relationships, substance abuse, addiction, domestic fighting or public emotional outbursts. It’s no different in Britain.

Our weekly headlines are witness to the fact that the goal of material wealth does not by any means guarantee a happy, peaceful life. When we look in the Bible for the meaning and purpose of our lives, however, we discover that there is a God who created us, loves us and wants to share his life with us.

Read what Paul had to say, above. And he continues: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Roman 5:10).

At this moment, you may not know or understand what God wants to accomplish through your life. But the closer you get to him, the more you can see his love for you, and the more you will see and understand yourself. When we live in relationship with God knowing and appreciating his love for us, his Holy Spirit changes our attitude from pleasing ourselves to pleasing others. This relationship with God is an intimacy that brings revelation, or clarity, to our lives, and that clarity produces transformation.

The more we know Jesus Christ, the perfect revelation of God the Father, two things happen. We begin to understand who we really are as God’s own children, and that haunting sense of inner emptiness we had begins to be replaced by a sense of belonging and being loved by the one who made us and cares for us.

Holy righteous Father, it is difficult for us to appreciate just how much you love us, despite our sin, our falling short, our fallen-ness. Help us to understand, to realise, what it means to us, so as to fill that empty void which seems ever present. You can fill that, you can complete us, and we ask you to do so. In Jesus’ name, the only one who made all this possible, we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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