“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).
Today we hear much about attaining personal fulfillment. What does “personal fulfillment” mean? Is being fulfilled synonymous with being happy or complete? You might picture a fulfilled person as always on the mountaintop in response to life’s experiences. However, even when someone has reached the highest level of attainment, that person may have inward battles and struggles. As Christians, we need to guard against hypocrisy.
In order to clear misunderstandings, a truly fulfilled person is NOT
- always smiling or laughing;
- always optimistic (sometimes pessimism is present; electrical currents need a negative and a positive combination to work);
- always brave and courageous (it is beneficial to admit weakness or a wrong decision; an honest confession is good for the soul);
- always free from doubt, fear, tears, or sorrow (Elijah and Peter experienced sorrow and fear; so do God’s servants).
If fulfillment does not consist of things listed above, then what constitutes being a fulfilled person? Though trials may hound our footsteps as believers, fulfillment is available. And when we are fulfilled, we evidence the following three characteristics: identification, acceptance, and involvement.
Identification: The need to belong
As believers, we belong to Christ. Jesus referred to Christians as His sheep. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Nahum 1:7 assures us, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” People join movements, clubs, and organizations to meet this need of belonging. The believer has a special affiliation, a Biblical identification (Eph. 3:14, 15). Our identification with God and fellow believers is an uplifting relationship that brings fulfillment.
Acceptance: The need to be loved
The individual desires to love and to be loved. God loves us with eternal love (Rom. 5:8). The believer is accepted in the Beloved.
Involvement: The need to do something, to occupy, to keep busy, to work
God put Adam to work before the fall (Gen. 2:15). Using the parable of minas, Christ challenged believers to be busy in His work: “And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Do business till I come” (Luke 19:13).
True fulfillment grows out of becoming a new creation in Christ by trusting Christ as Savior (2 Cor. 5:17). As believers, we are to “yield [ourselves] unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and [our] members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom. 6:13, KJV). Our salvation prompts us to do good works (Eph. 2:10), to let our lights shine (Matt. 5:16), and to show forth His praises (1 Pet. 2:9,10) Ultimately, our fulfillment will come at God’s right hand (Ps. 16:11), when we are clothed in the garment of immortality (1 Cor. 15:54).
Until we reach ultimate fulfillment in eternity, we can claim and act upon this promise of God: “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
John Lineberry, Pastor
San Mateo Baptist Church