The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
I lack nothing.
I had not understood this verse for the longest time. Or I think I mostly just didn’t want to. Because for some reason, my heart read it as having nothing, and my heart didn’t want to have nothing, my heart wanted a lot of things; my heart wanted to want. And I didn’t understand how I could lack nothing, and want nothing, when my soul and my flesh very easily and constantly want a lot of things.
I have come to realize the paradox of this verse. That when my soul actually gives up all it’s wants, it receives an abundance of things of infinite value. Things that come with such a peace that they never would have if I had striven to attain them on my own. I receive fulfillment when I am willing to be emptied.
I am not a needy person. I have always been content to live with very little; trying to constantly be aware and appreciative of the little things in life, and the invaluable things that cannot be seen. But in a first-world country and culture, it is hard not to want the next best thing.
My eye has always been drawn to the aesthetically pleasing. So whether I want to buy that, or wear that, or be that, or give that, or experience or travel that, my heart is caught up in want. And more often then not, in want that I cannot have. Now it’s not that I cannot have these things because I am not allowed, or they are bad for me, or they are too far out of reach. But I cannot have them because, I believe, God has called me to live with less at this point in time.
He says, ‘One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much’ LUKE 16:10 And with this, he has shown me that when I am faithful in little
— when I am content with what I have. When I let go of my want. When I take up my cross. When I surrender my will to his — he rewards me with much because he knows I can be trusted with it.
As long as our free will reigns in our lives, we are blindly and deceptively chasing after things that cannot satisfy. We are like a leaf fallen from a tree, counting on the ever changing wind to guide us, or the rushing river to get us downstream with the possibility of sinking at any turn. But when we have grafted ourselves into God’s will
— when we submit our wants to his wants — we find that not only we grow and change and flourish ourselves, but we are a part of something so much bigger, that grows and flourishes as one large entity of many small beings joined together as one beautiful organism.
Jesus speaks to us and tells us in JOHN 15:1-11, ‘I am the true Vine. My Father is the One Who cares for the Vine. 2 He takes away any branch in Me that does not give fruit. Any branch that gives fruit, He cuts it back so it will give more fruit. 3 You are made clean by the words I have spoken to you. 4 Get your life from Me and I will live in you. No branch can give fruit by itself. It has to get life from the vine. You are able to give fruit only when you have life from Me. 5 I am the Vine and you are the branches. Get your life from Me. Then I will live in you and you will give much fruit. You can do nothing without Me. 6 If anyone does not get his life from Me, he is cut off like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you get your life from Me and My Words live in you, ask whatever you want. It will be done for you. 8 When you give much fruit, My Father is honored. This shows you are My followers. 9 I have loved you just as My Father has loved Me. Stay in My love. 10 If you obey My teaching, you will live in My love. In this way, I have obeyed My Father’s teaching and live in His love. 11 I have told you these things so My joy may be in you and your joy may be full.
In this Jesus is saying that we are nothing without him, but it is not condescending, like it would be if it were a threat, this is why it is paradoxical. He tells us that when we remain in him and in his love, we bear fruit. We cannot bear fruit, real fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) if we separate from the living organism that not only gives those things, but is those things. Jesus tells us how it is, and he tells us that when we live like this, when we give up our wants, we ask whatever [we] want. [and] It will be done for [us]. And then he goes on to say that he tells us these things so that we might have his joy
— full joy. How wonderful is that.
Have you ever felt true joy? It is unlike a ‘happiness’ that the world tries to sell us. It is unlike a pleasant feeling when you eat a certain food or spend time with a certain person, or are absent from a certain negativity. True joy is a state of the heart when all is well. It is contentment, fulfillment. It is a pure bliss that makes you feel like you could take on the world just by closing your eyes and trusting that all is well. It is a free gift that God gives us when we give up our wants and live not for our self-satisfaction, but for his glory and his love.
Living in God’s will is simply the outcome of submitting your self will. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. LUKE 17:33
God gives freedom to the one who’s heart is humble and obedient. And whom the Son sets free is free indeed.