Fun fact: I am a Young Life leader in Bradenton, Florida.
(Any Young Life leaders out there?! 🙋♀️)
So recently at one of our clubs (that's what we call our gatherings) a leader gave a talk on this story from Vincent Van Gogh's life that broke me.
I am going to paraphrase it below:
There is a story going around the internet about Vincent Van Gogh, the famous artist, that later on in his life, he wanted to eat yellow paint.
He said that he hoped it would make him happy, because yellow is a happy color. It might be a true story, might not be. It doesn't really matter. The deeper truth is the same.
We see things that look like they will bring us fulfillment & joy & completion, but in the end they are like poison for our souls.
Deep down somewhere, we all have this painful desire for things that kill us.
We hope they will make us happy, but they never actually do. We can't seem to grasp that our true joy is found in the One who made us.
Whether it's partying until you black out, or giving yourself away in sex outside of God's plan, we pursue the things that only bring us harm in the long term. We think they'll work, but we always find out in the end that they all just leave us empty.
They look good. But they aren't pointing us towards Jesus. They are like paint. They are a poison.
Stop thinking that your yellow paint will make you happy. It won't. Only Jesus can.
I think it's easy to overlook just how similar you and I are to Van Gogh. We might even think, "Why would anyone eat yellow paint? Why would anyone think it could make them happy?"
But the reality is this: I run after things every day that are as bad as yellow paint, as poisonous, but because they are socially acceptable, I don't bat an eye. I don't run from them. I drink them in, I drink them down, and then I am surprised when I feel like they are killing me.
We are surprised when we feel like porn is killing us.
We are surprised when we feel like longing for others to satisfy us through social likes is somehow going to complete us actually feels like dying, slowly.
We are surprised that giving ourselves away in relationships somehow leaves us empty.
But why is it so surprising?
Why do we keep coming back to this well of yellow paint?
These are not the things we were created for. We were not created to find our happiness & joy in self centered worship, we were created to find our ultimate joy in the One who created us.
Only He can sustain us.
Only He is enough for us.
Only He can make us happy.
So, I hope, I pray, I beg you (and my own soul!) to hear today that just because it doesn't sound as bad as yellow paint, that thing that you are seeking that isn't Jesus is poison. It is not going to satisfy. It can never satisfy.
It can only kill.
Only Jesus can satisfy, only Jesus can save. Run to him, and let him cleanse you. It is His pure joy to satisfy your deepest longings.
Run to Him.
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