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The Two Kinds of Dissatisfaction

It seems to me that there are two kinds of dissatisfaction that can work in people.

It is my hope that by the end of this article what is written will have stirred up inside you the second kind of dissatisfaction. That’s right.

I’m hoping you will sense extreme discomfort….but a holy sort of discomfort for which there is a holy way to satisfy it.

The first got its start in the Garden of Eden and it has to do with a craving for something earthly that will somehow make our insides (our souls) better.

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:1-6)

Satan, represented by the serpent, created inside the woman a dissatisfaction and presented something from the earth as something that would satisfy her newly generated craving.

The devil is NOT creative.

Virtually every temptation to sin follows this same pattern. All through the Bible (until we get to one Person) we see that same dynamic in place. Something….which could be a person….from the earth is presented to us and we think, “If I only had THAT, I would feel better.”

For some it is something to steal. For others it’s a drug. Some have sex outside of marriage or with people of their own gender to satisfy that internal craving created in their souls by the devil. Some dishonor their spouses. Some are driven to collect initials or titles before or after their names.

Some commit terroristic atrocities.

Some build fortunes, huge organizations – businesses, church organizations, ministries; these are not sinful endeavors but can have a harmful result if they do it to make themselves better on the inside and not because God truly directed them to do so to advance HIS Kingdom.

So, that is the first kind of dissatisfaction. It began with Eve in Genesis and it freely affected every person on the earth all through history until satan tried that with Jesus.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4:1)

Why would Holy Spirit lead Jesus to a place where He would be tempted by the devil?

I think it was done as an example to us and is completely for our benefit. We can learn something from this true story.

“And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.” (Matthew 4:2)

It has become evident to me that when we are sick (even heart sick), tired, sick and tired, very hungry…..satan sees us as easy targets, thinking that it is easier than ever to build a hunger in our souls that he can use to convince us to take something from the earth or to do something physical so we can somehow be better in our souls.

“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’” (Matthew 4:3)

What did the devil try to do there? He tried to create a hunger inside Jesus to validate himself.

“But He answered and said, ‘It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.'’” (Matthew 4:4)

Jesus knew He was the Son of God. His understanding of His identity made it impossible for the devil to create a hunger inside His soul. Then Jesus quoted God’s Word to the devil, which the devil had watched being written.

“Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU,' and, IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU DASH YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, 'YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.'’” (Matthew 4:5-7)

Again, Jesus knew Who He was. No hunger was created in His soul and He quoted God’s Word to the devil.

“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’” (Matthew 4:8-9)

Here we see satan offering the entire world to Jesus (Who IS God and Who literally OWNS all the earth).

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” (Exodus 19:5)

The devil had also watched that being said and then later written down into God’s Word.

Why does satan even bother doing these things? Jesus explains why as He refers to the devil while rebuking the scribes and the


"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44 - NASB)

Lying is what satan does.

We MUST learn to monitor the thoughts and ideas that come into our heads, capture them and take them to Jesus for Him to scrutinize and judge. Then we must punish and cast down any of these ideas that God tells us are wrong (2 Corinthians 10:5-6).

Jesus is modeling this for us in Matthew 4:

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.'’” (Matthew 4:10)

And here is the result of resisting the devil in this way:

“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” (Matthew 4:11)

I believe that angels routinely minister to Christians after we resist the devil; we just don’t realize that is what is happening to us.

“Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Christians)” (Hebrews 1:14)

A little earlier I said that this first kind of dissatisfaction began with Eve in Genesis and it freely affected every person on the earth all through history until satan tried that with Jesus.

We can see that it backfired when he tried it with our Savior but, unfortunately, this did not stop him from using that tactic on people.

He still does it but one thing that the Lord put in place was a way that we would be less susceptible to these temptations. This is the process we call “sanctification.”

“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren…” (Hebrews 2:11)

“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

Our human spirits were “perfected” instantly when we were born again and Holy Spirit came to dwell in our spirits. In the meanwhile, our souls are “being sanctified” which means to become more and more holy all the time. This is a gradual process and is, I believe, designed by God to foster a deeper fellowship and interaction with Him as the process goes on.

This is where the second kind of dissatisfaction in people comes in.

Whereas the first kind of dissatisfaction is a bad thing since it has its source in satan trying to get us to fixate on the things of the earth…mere created things…as a way of making our souls FEEL better, this second kind of dissatisfaction is a signal of a good thing happening inside us.

This is because it is God Himself creating a holy hunger inside our souls to dive into the deep end of the sanctification pool. It was to this that He referred when He said through the Apostle Paul:

“….being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)

The sanctification of our souls is that good work that God intends to complete in us and it often includes a holy dissatisfaction and discomfort.

Paul was very familiar with this. As he journeyed to Damascus to arrest and torment Jews who had received Jesus as their Lord he had an encounter with Jesus. His own sanctification process started with a physical blindness that represented his own lack of spiritual eyesight. Jesus said to him:

“But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:16-18)

Jesus gave Paul the mission that would be his life for his remaining years. In that commission Jesus refers to Christians (those who are sanctified by faith in Christ) and to the process of sanctification itself (opening our eyes, turning us from darkness to light and from the power of satan to God.)

Having experienced some years of this and as one who disciples others it has become evident to me that God doesn’t seem to FORCE us to undergo this process. Instead, He turns things satan brings into our lives that might make us experience that first sort of dissatisfaction into opportunities, instead, for the further sanctification of our souls.

“…He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son (the sanctification process), so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…” (Romans 8:27-29)

God gives us the opportunity to cooperate with Him in the sanctification of our souls and so often it seems that the beginning of this process is a holy discomfort…that second sort of dissatisfaction. It comes as an intense craving for more…but not more of anything from the earth – from outside us to in any way benefit our souls inside. Rather, this is a hunger for more of what God would have for us and the source of this lives in our human spirits: the very Holy Spirit of God!

“But if (since) the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

The here and now on-going result of the process of sanctification is LIFE (“zoe” or heavenly life, not “bios” or mere earthy life) that flows from God in heaven itself.

Often, a spurt of spiritual growth will be signaled by a holy dissatisfaction in the Christian who is about to grow in a big way. This is, basically, an invitation from God to embark on this journey and this comes to us when our All-Knowing Father Who knows EXACTLY where we are spiritually (1 Corinthians 1:10-11) knows we have what we need to move on with Him.

These do not represent “levels” of spirituality because levels are all about competition with other Christians. We’re not in a race with anyone else. This is a process in which we choose to become all we can be in Christ and, thus, satisfy His intentions for our lives (Ephesians 2:10).

Sometimes the sanctification process seems paradoxical.

For instance, it is a sign of maturity when a person says, “I think I’m immature.” They might feel bad because they see what they lack but it’s really a good thing. Likewise, it’s a sign of humility when a person can see their own pridefulness. THAT’S an uncomfortable thing…a holy dissatisfaction….but it is a GOOD thing because 1) it comes from God and 2) it, therefore, builds us up in Christ.

I repeat something I said at the beginning of this article:

It is my hope that by the end of this article what is written will have stirred up inside you the second kind of dissatisfaction. That’s right.

I’m hoping you will sense extreme discomfort….but a holy sort of discomfort for which there is a holy way to satisfy it.

I say this in the spirit of the Apostle Peter:

“Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up….” (2 Peter 1:13)

This is a good stirring….a good sort of dissatisfaction.

When Peter wrote that he had just urged his readers to do this:

“…..add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)

This is a list of godly qualities that is similar to the one found in Galatians 5:22-23 (the fruit of the Spirit.) Peter’s motivation was to inspire his readers to grow in Christ…with wonderful ramifications:

“For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things YOU WILL NEVER STUMBLE; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8-11)

In closing, I invite you to join me in this prayer that I pray for myself. In it we will ask to be made uncomfortable, dissatisfied with where we are in our sanctification AND for Jesus to supply the antidote for that discomfort by leading us toward the completion of the work He desires to do in our souls (Philippians 1:6).

Please join me:

“Father God, please create in me a holy discomfort. I know You have work that You desire to do in my soul. Cause me to experience a dissatisfaction that will propel me into pursuing Your intentions for my spiritual growth. I want to be everything You want me to be. Make me hungry for that….and then satisfy my hunger in a way only You can. Sanctify my soul. Please make me wise to sense the difference between satan’s temptations from the earth to make me more dependent on mere finite things and Your true and eternally healthy call to the deeper things of Christ. I pray this in the beautiful name of Jesus. Amen.”

May it be so.

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, Texas

© December 1, 2016

(For use with permission)

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