A song I love to hate

I don’t really hate it . . . but I dislike it a lot.

It has such a beautiful title: “I Am Satisfied with Jesus.” My heart leaps up in response to that title. Yes!

It’s an old song, sung in the churches in which I grew up, so you may not know it. It goes like this:

“I am satisfied with Jesus! He has done so much for me. / He has suffered to redeem me. He has died to set me free.”

Well, the poetry isn’t the greatest, but I appreciate the sentiment. So far so good.

Here is the refrain, sung again and again for four verses:

“I am satisfied, I am satisfied, I am satisfied with Jesus. / But the question comes to me as I think of Calvary, / Is my Saviour satisfied with me?

It’s a rhetorical question. So you’re supposed to know the answer. Listen, and you’ll hear it. It comes roaring down the empty corridor and resounding off the concrete walls.

NO!!

No, He’s not satisfied! I’m not doing enough! I need to try harder! I need to make a longer list! I need to sleep less! I need to work and work and work! More Bible study! More prayer! More witnessing! More church attendance! More passing out tracts!

For three more verses this song lays the burden of guilt on heavier and heavier and heavier, until you are bowed almost to the ground under the weight. He has done so much for you! Why aren’t you doing more for Him? And with this mindset, no matter how much you do, you’ll always ask that question, because how can you EVER do as much for Him as He did for you? It’s impossible.

I never really liked this song, even back in the days when I didn’t understand why I didn’t like it. In fact, I felt guilty for not liking it.

But then I began to understand Salvation in Everyday Life. The Gospel that saves moment by moment. The Salvation that changes not just my destination some sweet day, but my desires, my direction, and even my death in this very day. I began to understand the outpouring River of God’s grace to do all the things He wants me to do, through the power of the Holy Spirit (who, by the way, is ignored in this song about doing things for God).

About three years ago I was giving a little . . . talk . . . to my children about how the mindset of this song is wrong, explaining the truth about salvation. “The truth of the matter is that if I am IN CHRIST, then He is completely satisfied with me, because Jesus Christ is completely satisfying.”

My daughter uttered some beautiful words: “That sounds almost too good to be true.”

“Ah, yes,” I said. “That’s the gospel.”

10 thoughts on “A song I love to hate

  1. Amen sister!!… Maybe thats why I’ve always liked “Just as I am….” There’s enough in life to beat us down with guilt,…why allow a hymn to do it.

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  3. Thanks for great words. There is a “Satisfied with Jesus” song that is much less guilt-provoking. It also is an old song and I think you might appreciate it’s words. I love your frankness. I would love to hear you speak. I see you are also a storyteller – I am as well, living in Hampton, VA. HOpefully our paths will cross again. Peace and belief, Sheila.

    I’m satisfied with Jesus, He’s everything to me;
    He saved my soul from torment, and awful misery;
    He gave me peace and gladness, yea, more than I deserved,
    And since my Savior found me, Him I have gladly served.

    I’m satisfied with Jesus, and I will tell you why,
    He sanctified my nature and fitted me to die;
    He filled me with His glory, and leads me every day,
    And keeps me now from falling, and in the holy way.

    I’m satisfied with Jesus, I find He’s all I need,
    He healed me soul and body, and makes me whole indeed;
    He gives me food and raiment, yes, all I eat and wear;
    He beareth all my burdens, my sorrows, and my care.

    I’m satisfied with Jesus, whatever He may do,
    And this same satisfaction is waiting now for you;
    I’m satisfied with Jesus, wherever I may be,
    And, while I now obey Him, He’s satisfied with me.

    • Thank you, Sheila! It’s a joy to know a really *good* song with this title! I might even post it in my blog.

      I’d be happy to come speak in Hampton, VA, as the Lord allows the schedules to work out. Glad to hear that you’re a storyteller too–we need more people telling the mighty works of God!

  4. I remember the “guilt” songs and the guilt sermons and am so thankful to have found/be finding freedom. To know that in Christ, there is no condemnation is just radical, way too much to ever wrap my mind around. Growing up, my family, church and school used guilt to manipulate me to obey and to struggle to be perfect to perhaps some day achieve enough to perhaps please God just a little bit. It was never enough and the weight of it was crushing. I have finally learned the beautiful and freeing truth of grace. It is like a gentle breeze that washes my soul, giving it life and strength. Oddly enough, it is this same grace that makes me eager to follow Jesus, eager to know him, eager to obey and serve him. The thing that before was just a yoke of bondage that suffocated me is now something I eagerly want to give just by seeing the depths of his love for me. As I see more of his love, I can’t help but love him and want to follow him. I am still being freed as past teachings sometimes still pop up and confuse and sometimes paralyze me, but each time I see his grace anew, I am revived, refreshed and set on fire with love for this One who loves me just as I am with no condemnation. It truly is the most amazing thing that a person can ever discover!

  5. Thank you so much for your comment. The salvation of Jesus Christ doesn’t end at the cross, narrowly saving us from destruction. It goes all the way to abundant New Life, the power-filled life of His powerful Resurrection.

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  7. My feelings,…exactly!

    When One died, all died…and “…as He is in this world, so are we…”

    The same thing that was spoken over Jesus is what our Papá God says over US!
    This is my BELOVED Son, in whom I am WELL PLEASED!

    (I did have to chuckle about the guilty feeling of not liking the heaping guilt words. LOL!)

  8. I stumbled on this write-up, looking for this very hymn to add to a daily devotion I send to a dear friend, the rhetorical nature of the chorus of this hymn is what I remembered and loved, it did not give me a guilty conscience as it was used as a song of commitment to stewardship in the Baptist church I attended growing up.
    I see how it can provoke guilt when used in the contest of ” working out your own salvation” without the help of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God. But I like to think the writer of the hymn might have been someone who did not want to take the grace of God for granted and penned down the thought to always remember to walk in the paths our heavenly Father leads so as to always please Him.
    I appreciate your frankness and the liberation some will get from it. The grace of God has led you to this truth and it is good to know the song had an impart on you.

    Stay in grace.
    Mercy.

I welcome your thoughts