What to do you value above all else? What rules your thoughts, retains your affections, has your undying loyalty, and warrants your precious energy?
Why does this matter?
Because what you are passionate about– what you believe is worthy of your devotion and effort–at its core, is where you put your hope.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about Easter and the message of the cross, and the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ, and I have to ask myself this:
If I really believed that Jesus is better than anyone or anything and that he alone could satisfy, how would that transform my life?
If I believed Jesus is better:
- my sin would lose its grip on me
- sinful attitudes (lust of flesh, eyes, pride of life) would be repulsive to me
- my focus would be on Christ
- my aim would be to be his follower above all else,
- my attitudes would reflect His,
- my duty would be to love His children,
- my highest goal would be to please Him in everything.
If I believed Jesus satisfied:
- earthly pleasures would lose their charm and allurement,
- earthly treasures would be held loosely,
- I’d seek Him as the ultimate treasure.
- He’s be the first person I run to when I have a need,
- He’d be the person I’d want to spend time with,
- my body, habits, lifestyle would reflect moderation and self-control,
- my attitudes would be joyful, because I’ll always have my prized possession.
- I wouldn’t seek my identity apart from Him.
The gospel is not just a teaching. The gospel is hope, healing, and life.
“The gospel is not only the most important message in all of history; it is the only essential message in all of history. Yet we allow thousands of professing Christians to live their entire lives without clearly understanding it and experiencing the joy of living by it.” Jerry Bridges
This Easter and every day, as I look at the cross where God’s wrath for my sin was poured out in full on Jesus, I want to keep these two truths in the forefront of my mind. Jesus is Supreme and he alone satisfies.
Maybe you need this reminder, too?
I think we all need to keep these truths between our eyes because when I look around at the landscape of Christianity, I see that we’re often blind to our own sin and keen to point out others. We’ve become a joyless lot, up one minute, down the next. We’re distracted. Boy are we distracted. We have more ads, images, entertainment, temptations before our eyes than ever before. Digital candy, there to entertain and delight us one click at a time. Yes, we the church, and the church leadership, are often sinful and seeking lesser gods.
I don’t mean that we’ve stopped serving Jesus. Oh, don’t get me wrong. We’re getting it done. We’re doing ministry, but I wonder if we’re doing it God’s way–like people who have been transformed by an amazing love? People who are supplied and satisfied by God’s transforming provision?
I think we’re a lot like Moses, frustrated, all set, and I.can’t.even who struck the rock twice out of anger (dramatic much?) (Numbers 20:11) to “minister” to the thirsty, complaining children of Israel in the wilderness. We “serve the Lord” through gritted teeth and deal with His people harshly, and do ministry in self-serving ways, using our own carnal methods. We show up. We complain about how ridiculous these kids are or how nobody appreciates all we do. We strike the rock. We lead the group. We pick up his socks and close his bureau drawers completely. We complain about the brother. We gossip about the sister. We bite and devour. We one-up someone else. We compete instead of collaborate. We self-justify our anger when it all comes tumbling out. We blame others– the people God gave us–when in truth we acted upon what thought would satisfy us.
Amazingly, and scarily, the stricken rock flows pure water and the job gets done and God waters His people in spite of us.
Don’t confuse God’s provision and goodness with His blessing. We aren’t pulled out of ministry or motherhood, and by all outward appearances, things continue as normal, but we lose the blessing and we forfeit our godly influence.
God will water His people because He is good. He uses our failures to water others but “Be not deceived, God is not mocked” because our God sees our heart. You can’t hide that from Him. And He cares more about your heart purity and your relationship to Him than He cares about any outward ministry or action you could perform.
Our job is to take account of our own heart, keep close tabs on our motives and place every thought and action underneath His control. We are to be disciples, first and foremost, who are gospel-infused, Spirit-led, and dedicated to truth. This means exalting God’s Word, His methods, means, timing, and super-natural power.
If God is sufficient, we won’t dig our own cisterns.
My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
We’ll be satisfied when we take and drink and enjoy the Source of the living water, an endless supply, a spring of refreshment, cold, pure, free. We’ll find Him sufficient when we “come to Him” and put down our tools and our try-hard tenacity, and realize that the self-dependence that we once thought at strength was really a weakness and a hindrance from knowing Him. It’s a man-made glass with a hole in the bottom that can hold nothing and deliver nothing and will always leave you thirsty and wanting more.
So, this Easter, as you think about the cross and the resurrection, ask yourself how this has changed you. Have you found in Him your sufficiency and satisfaction?