The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (Psalm 23:1, esv).
Think how much of our misery comes from our wanting. Wanting a particular level of income. Wanting a specific kind of vacation. Wanting a certain desired job, position, or assignment. Wanting to be like somebody else, or wanting what they have. Wanting this, wanting that.
How different would life be without all this insatiable wanting?
I’ll tell you what it wouldn’t be. It wouldn’t be a life of guaranteed financial prosperity. For every Abraham, David, and Solomon in the Bible—men of great wealth and resources—there’s also an Elijah, a John the Baptist, any one of Jesus’ apostles, even the man Jesus Christ Himself, who admitted to having “nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Neither would it be a life free from all sickness and loss, where we’re able to order up instant healing for every ache, pain, and unhappiness. Even Paul, with his legendary faith, bore a “thorn” in his flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7), which the Lord chose not to take away.
A life without want is not the same thing as a life of ease and pleasure, possessing everything we could possibly fancy acquiring.
But when David wrote the words of the Twenty-third Psalm—probably as an older man, reflecting back on what life with God is all about—he’d seen enough to know that nothing he’d ever relentlessly wished for was worth the aggravation of wanting it in the first place. His life certainly hadn’t been perfect, but he could tell you one thing for sure: his Shepherd had never failed him. Despite all the disappointments and difficulties David had faced, the Lord had always kept His promises.
And if things keep going this direction, David seemed to be saying, I believe a day is coming when I shall not want anything. The more he walked with the Lord, the more graciously God reduced his desires for anything other than Him, so that now—bothered by fewer wants—David found himself remarkably satisfied, totally cared for, and never in need.
Allow the fresh air of that statement to blow across your heart for a moment. “I shall not want.” Imagine reaching a point in life where if someone were to ask, “Don’t you wish you had . . . [something or someone you spent a lot of energy pining for earlier in life]”, you could honestly say, “No. Not really. I have the Lord. He’s all I need. And when I need more of Him, He’ll give me that, too.”
Talk about an incredible goal to look forward to! Talk about the freeing reality of living in contented self-control. Talk about enjoying and exuding the kind of security that makes you a walking testimony, a living tribute to how God alone can transform a sinful, wishful, wanting heart into one that’s utterly unselfish, yet totally full.
O Lord, my Shepherd, You have faithfully given me everything I’ve ever needed. Help me to come to a place of honestly saying, “Christ is enough for me.” For I know how deeply You love me and how richly You care for me. I know how well You understand me, better than I understand myself. So I trust that what You give is not just “enough,” but more than enough. Remove from me anything that keeps me from being satisfied in You, my Lord, my Shepherd. I pray this in the all-sufficient name of Jesus, amen.