Complete in Him

By Peter Martin
Genesis 2:18- “And the
LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone.” As a single man, this
verse used to give me a lot of problems. I never understood- if God said that
it wasn’t good for man to be alone, why am I still alone? Did He forget about
me? These questions used to really plague my thoughts, but over the last couple
of months, God has really shown me some amazing truths about being single that
I would like to share.
The first thing that
was so important for me to understand is that dissatisfaction will always lead
to lust. For many years of my life, I struggled in the bondage of pornography
and it wasn’t until recently that I really looked back and thought about why I
was attracted to the lie of porn in the first place. For me, I was drawn in by
the desire for intimacy. Being single can be a very lonely thing. I would see
my friends that were married and had girlfriends and I would always think, “Why
not me?” I would covet after what they had, and because of my depression, I
anxiously bought into the lie of pornography and lust. I would watch all of
these images and I would let lust completely take over my heart, coveting after
the intimacy and love that I thought I was seeing. Looking back on it, I am
reminded of the man in Isaiah 44 who builds his own idol and yet he is unable
to see that the idol has no power. Isaiah 44:20 says, “He feeds on ashes; a
deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say,
‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?” This passage perfectly described me. No
matter how many times porn failed to satisfy the longing in my heart, I kept
going back to it time and time again expecting something different, I was the
true definition of insanity.
I was also unable to
see that I was looking at a lie, a distortion of the better pleasure that we
can have in Jesus. We were created by God to experience His unconditional love
and acceptance. Romans 5:8 reads, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Deep down, we want
someone to love us in this sacrificial way and to accept us for who we are,
faults and all. The problem is, that Jesus Christ is the only One who can do
that, in Him alone can we can find the true love that we long for so
vehemently. All that this world has to offer us is lust. When I looked at porn,
I wanted so badly to believe that I was seeing love; I wanted to believe that
lust could bring me happiness, but it couldn’t. I also wanted to believe that
somehow another person could fill this void in my life. I earnestly desired
intimacy with another person.
I also fell into
another deception- that someone else could satisfy the longing in my heart. Because
I believed that some other person could satisfy me completely, I assumed that
after I got married my lust would go away. Over the last couple months, God has
blessed me with being a mentor for Setting Captives Free. However, a depressing
truth about being a mentor is that the majority of my students are men in their
late forties and early fifties that have allowed lust to permeate their marital
bed. As a result, they are usually on their second or third marriage, and their
current marriage is on the rocks. This blew away my assumptions about this sin.
The lust for porn clearly doesn’t just go away once you’re married.
The problem is that we
are looking to a person to be able to love us with the same depth that Christ
loves us, but no woman or man can ever live up to this standard. If we enter
into marriage with an idea that this other person will somehow complete us, we
will be sorely disappointed. We expect our spouse to satisfy us, but they
cannot and similarly we’re not going to be able to satisfy them. This ends up
in neither party ever getting what they want. And this inevitably leads to both
parties seeking to gratify their own flesh in the empty lusts of this world.
If everyone going into
marriage is just looking for their own self-gratification, is it any wonder
that the majority of marriages are ending in divorce?
God wants to take us
away from the emptiness of lust, He wants to satisfy us in the ways that only
He can. Psalm 23:11 says, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” All
those years that I was chasing after intimacy, I failed to realize that I was
missing out on the greater spiritual intimacy with Jesus Christ. Jesus loves us
in spite of all of our faults and flaws. He loves us fully and completely. He
can’t wait to spend the rest of eternity with us and He wants us to be fully
satisfied in Him. Colossians 2:10 says, “And you are complete in Him, who is
the head of all principality and power.” It is only when we understand this
simple fact- we are complete in Christ alone- that we can truly love someone
with that sacrificial love that Jesus loves us with. Our identity must be
founded in Jesus, first, and then we can rightly love another. It is only then
that we can find joy in dying to ourselves and in sacrificing for the betterment
of another, just as Jesus did for His bride, us.
We might not
understand what this means or where to begin. Looking at David as an example we
can learn some things. Psalm 87:7 says, “All my fountains are in You.” David is
expressing how all of his joy and satisfaction are in God alone. This is so
different from what this world will tell us. The world tells me to constantly
chase money, jobs, relationships, and all the other broken cisterns of this
world in order to find my satisfaction. But Jesus tells me that in His perfect
love for me I am complete and can be fully satisfied. There really is true and
complete satisfaction for our longings in Jesus Christ.
These past couple of weeks
He has been asking me some pretty convicting questions, like: “Am I really your
treasure, or do you need a good job and a lot of money to feel good about
yourself?” “Is my love and acceptance of you enough, or do you need other
people to satisfy you?” “Is my salvation enough for you, or do you feel that
you need to add good works to what I have done?” Jesus wants us to realize that
He is more than enough for us. In Him is not only the intimacy and acceptance
that we long for, but there is a love in Him that is beyond words. There is joy
that carries us through the pain; there is comfort in darkness, strength in our
weakness, and a healing for even the most broken and wounded parts of our
lives. Jeremiah 31:3 reads, “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:
‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness
I have drawn you. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt
(emphasis mine). He has loved us with an everlasting love and He will rebuild.
Getting back to the
beginning of this article- how does all of this fit with the issue of “It’s not
good for man to be alone”? Regarding this very question, God reminds me often
of the story of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 16 God specifically tells Jeremiah to
never get married. Before Jeremiah could ask why God tells him that if he were
to marry he would have to watch as his family starved to death. God prevented
Jeremiah from marrying in order to spare him pain. God wants us to know that He
cares deeply for us, that He knows what is best for His children, and that His
timing is perfect. If God answered my prayers, bringing me a spouse before He
showed me all of this, I would have ruined the relationship by pursuing it
through the paradigm of lust. Like Jeremiah, God did not give me what I wanted
at the time in order to spare me pain. God had better things in mind for me and
He protected me from my own lustful desires.
God wants to bless
every season of our lives. He doesn’t want us to be discontent with where He
has us, or for us to be yearning for something different. He wants us to be
content. We can be content with wherever we are in life if we are truly seeking
that satisfaction in Christ. If He is filling my desires then I am not lusting
after someone or something else. I’m seeing how God is using my singleness for
His glory! For example, because I do not support a family I am able to serve
Him in a capacity that I would be completely unable to otherwise. He is causing
such amazing fruit to appear in my life as a result of where He has me. And God
wants you to know that wherever you are He has amazing things that He would
love to do in this season of your life. If you have sought after lust in your
life, whether married or single, God longs to restore you back to Him. He will
rebuild. He wants to bring you the satisfaction and the joy that can only come
from His love and His acceptance of you. He wants to teach you how to find your
full satisfaction in Christ.
“You will show me the
path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are
pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).