Aren't you being a little tough on us, Phil? Maybe, but I don't think so. And remember, if I'm pointing a finger at "us," then I've also got three fingers pointing back at me! So let's be honest with ourselves. If Jesus were enough for us then why do we ...
- Crave and spend to get what's new?
Why do we have to have the latest and newest gizmo, vehicle, house, or whatever it is that we have to have? Why would so many of us be in debt up to our eyeballs so we could live in the right house and neighborhood, drive a nice car, have the latest fashions, wear the right shoes, and show off the latest i-Whatever?
- Worry about missing out on something if we make a choice for Jesus?
Why fear that we might lose something if we don't run with the wild crowd so we can popular? Why get sucked back into taking another drag or two on the weed because we can't hang around some folks if we don't? Why do we drop our sexual ethics for fear of missing out on an experience if we don't? Why baptize our worries in a longneck bottle if Jesus is enough?
- Get so concerned about folks not doing church our way?
Why judge someone because they don't live up to our pile of rules and traditions that we've encrusted around the simple message of Jesus? Or, why fear we might be missing something and simply add in what some other group or religion is doing? Why not focus on Jesus and put everything to the "Jesus test"* in what we do rather than worry ourselves with comparative religious shopping?
Jesus faced a mountain of religious stuff: stuff that was piled up, defended, studied, extrapolated, debated, and paraded by the religious establishment of His day. He came walked up this mountain of religious stuff and conquered it by being raised up on a cross. He claimed that He was the fulfillment of all the good things anticipated and promised in God's Law, Prophets, and Wisdom. He claimed to know the true way to apply God's Word and He said He came as God's Living Word. He claimed that the light, bread, water of life were all found in Him. He declared that He fulfilled the meaning of the feasts and the great acts of God's deliverance. He declared that He was the only way to God. He said, in essence, "I am enough. If you believe this, follow me, but apart from me, you are not going to find God and produce the abundant life I long to give you." Jesus is enough!
Jesus' followers declared these same basic truths.
Peter said, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 TNIV). Jesus is God's ultimate message to use (Hebrews 1:1-3; John 1:1-18). So the apostle Paul preached "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2), a message centered in the truth that Jesus died for our sins according to God's plan, was buried, was raised on the third day, and appeared to His followers (1 Corinthians 15:1-6). This is not only the Gospel that we believe, but it is also the Gospel that we experience when we confess Him as Lord and are baptized with Him into His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:1-4). This Gospel must not be changed, watered down, or encrusted with add-ons, as Paul warns in the strongest terms possible (Galatians 1:5-9). Jesus is enough!
And as we seek to live life to its fullest and as we seek to grow to be all we are made to be in Jesus, Paul adds:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness (Colossians 2:6-11).
Jesus is enough!
So the call to us is clear.
Sink the roots of our hearts deep down into Jesus as Lord!Know His story. Let the Holy Spirit transform us into His character as we seek to know Him. Build our lives around His leading in our lives and our surrender to His Lordship. So where is your Bible most worn? Is it in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) where the story of Jesus is told? If not, why not spend some more time with Jesus? Jesus is enough!
Let our lives overflow with thankfulness!Nothing reminds us of our great blessings in Christ quite like daily praise and thanksgiving for what God has done, given, and blessed us with in Jesus. In times where we are prone to panic because of the economy, terrorism, health concerns, and housing crises we need to be reminded of the love that led Jesus to leave the safety of heaven to come to our world full of this kind of stuff. He did it for us. Jesus is enough!
Don't let anyone take us captive through their old traditions or new experiences!All these may sound very religious and philosophically wise, but if Jesus didn't demand them, then why should we pursue them? Anything added to Jesus is less than what Jesus offers us. Remember what He said:
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you possess eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life (John 5:39-40).
All the flash and demand of our religious systems are bankrupt compared to the grace of Jesus. Jesus comes and challenges us to follow Him and let Him be our Lord. When we do, rather than being a burden to us, Jesus promises us this:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 12:28-30).
Jesus is enough!
For comments on this article or to see a related video, check out my blog post, "Simply Christ!"
* Put Your Religious Practice to the Jesus Test! (Matthew 28:18-20)
- Is the good news of Jesus proclaimed?
- Is the person of Jesus — fully God and fully human as the Son of God on earth— exalted?
- Is the will of Jesus obeyed?
- Is the life of Jesus shared?