I knew a man who was addicted to sex. Affairs with women, sick relationships. Two failed marriages, several failed live-ins. He kept a journal of how many women he had taken to bed, and there were many, very many. As Chesterton says about people who are rich, “To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it”. The same can be said for sex addicts. If you really want to take thousands of women to bed over the course of your life, you can indeed get that, but you have to be sick enough to care, and driven enough to make that your life’s vocation. And this man did just that; he devoted his entire life—his energies, his spare time, his focus—to this one obsession. He lost one good paying job over it, maybe more. The last time I saw him, he was in his mid-70’s, proud that he had picked up a waitress in her 30’s who was living with him, and who his other girlfriend didn’t know about. Of course, she was a heroin addict and had been in and out of prison. But she liked him and the sex was good.
But it wasn’t enough. No matter how much he got, it was never enough. He was never satisfied.
I knew a woman who made a tremendous amount of money, doing something creative—let’s say it was writing. Her books began to sell, and she hired a staff of ghost writers to turn out more and more stuff, and started a retail empire based on her stories and characters. She was miserable. “All I wanted to do was make money writing,” she once told me. “And now I can’t even breathe.” She had no free time; her family suffered; her spare time had vanished.
And it wasn’t enough. No matter how much she got, it was never enough. She was never satisfied.
I know many an actor (some as well as I know myself) who do it all for applause. They want the audience to love them, they want their co-stars to love them, they want their critics to love them. And some of them have become very famous and indeed “loved” by a huge number of people.
Ask me if it’s enough. Ask me if however much they get—how much applause, adoration, adulation—if it’s ever enough—if they’re ever satisfied.
That’s the thing about sin. It looks so satisfying, so tantalizing. But you can’t live on forbidden fruit—it’s just not that filling.
The devil says, “This is what you want,” and we take it and we gorge ourselves on it, and we look around and we say, “Well, that was tasty, but I’m hungry for more.” We’re hungry for more because it’s not filling—sin is not nutritious; it’s never enough. And the next thing you know, we’re slaves to sin—or as Micah says, speaking of our time, which he foresaw a few thousand years ago…
You will eat but not be satisfied; your stomach will still be empty. (Micah 6:14)
Yes, indeed, we “can’t get no satisfaction”, because
it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind (Ecclesiastes. 1:14)
The same is true for our economy, which is based upon usury. The nature of usury is that eventually debts can never be repaid—satisfaction for the debt can never be made. The creditor charges interest on wealth that does not exist, and eventually that vacuum of make-believe stuff at the heart of our marketplace, that non-existent wealth (in our case derivatives, fiat currency that is created only when borrowed, unlimited interest rates on credit card debt, ballooning interest-bearing student loans that far exceed a student’s ability to repay, endlessly refinanced debts, etc.)—makes the whole house of cards come crashing down. Eventually default occurs, which is kind of what addicts call “hitting rock bottom”.
When a drug addict finds himself homeless and lonely, he might just say, “I’ve had enough,” repent, believe (Mark 1:15), and turn his life around. When a sex addict (especially a porn addict, more common than the serial-seducer described above) finds himself driven to more and more degraded material on the internet and unable to relate to women in any satisfying way, he might just say, “I’ve had enough”, repent, believe, and turn his life around. When any of us finally finds that our own little life-gimmicks don’t really do the trick, we too may say, “I’ve had enough,” repent, believe, and with God’s grace, turn our lives around.
It’s never enough—til we’ve had enough. We’ll never be fed, until we’re fed up. It’s all unreal, until we get real.
For when we feed on real food, we are filled.
And when we repent and believe, we find our debts (our trespasses) satisfied, our desires satisfied, our hearts satisfied.
For the ultimate debt has been paid, and the eternal default and been avoided.
Oh, happy default!
When Our Lord hung on the cross and said, “It is enough” (also translated, “it is finished”, “it is paid” “it is satisfied”), at that moment, once and for all, if we join our sufferings with His, enough was enough.
And from that moment, all true satisfaction comes.