Donald Miller on

Will Jesus Fulfill us Here on Earth?

One of the reasons people struggle so much with life is they expect it to be something it isn’t. They expect to be fulfilled by products, relationships and even religion as though this is going to be the “Act 3 Climax” of life. But Biblically, the complete climax of life doesn’t happen at conversion, it happens when we are reunited with God. Adjusting expectations, therefore, frees people to be happy and grateful for the good things they experience on earth.

A study done of the happiest countries named Denmark as the world’s happiest country. I believe America was 32nd on that list. And when researchers took a closer look, they realized the key characteristic that made people in Denmark so happy was, and you won’t believe this, they had generally low expectations in life. They were always pleasantly surprised at how things turn out.

So in Christian culture, when we increase our manmade expectations (and trick ourselves into thinking this is faith in God) we are setting ourselves up for emotional instability. But the Bible does not set false expectations for us. The lives of the Apostles testify to this. So ours is a life filled with hope of what will come. We are like that bride, excited about her coming wedding, still thick with the frustrations that come with betrothal.

* Things this post does not say: You can’t be content or fulfilled (in an earthly sense). What we are really talking about here is that intuitive sense that something is wrong with the world and that something needs to happen to fix it. Marketing companies play on this intuitive sense all the time. So does self-help philosophy and prosperity theology. But Biblical theology puts this event at the reunion you’ll have with God.

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About marisd

I want to love well.

2 responses »

  1. Liam says:

    So you are saying that it sets up a false dichotomy to talk about either raising or lowering your expectations. In truth, our expectations are raised because we hope in Christ, a real expectation of hope. Therefore, a realistic expectation is one that God establishes and an unrealistic one is one that I establish apart from trust in Christ.

    Something about the Danish example doesn’t hit me quite right; don’t you think so too? It seems like the survey asks the wrong question of the Dane, does it not? It assumes happiness is settling for something that seems devoid of passions. It is not far-fetched to think that one person’s deadness is another person’s happiness! I wonder what the great Danish philosopher Kierkegaard would say about the presumed happiness of his fellow Danes! Seems like the “gloomy philosopher” would say their happiness was deadness, and that pursuit of happiness (perhaps ‘harmony’) is wrongly the focus anyway. (Adams, yea! Jefferson, boo!) He would point out that life is filled with struggles and tensions and that the experiences of those tensions present an opportunity through following Jesus to discover what it really means to be fully human, i.e., that which God created us to be. The world is a “coiled spring,” says Søren.

    So then, it seems, a Christian I cannot help but follow Jesus who promises me a share of His cross and His future. So my future is his future. His glory is my fulfillment. This journey is a wonder, though not always happy as it passes through a fallen, uncanny world. Hebrews 12:1-4 is a great passage in this regard. Well, there it is. Love you!

  2. marisd says:

    Great thoughts Liam! I put this out there for comment because I found it interesting what Don shared. I think you’re right! I don’t want to settle with low expectations, but embrace the Author of expectations and have a share of His cross and His future as well! On another note, a great project down the road for you could be a vlog on unpacking Hebrews. I would love that!

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