“I started giving more and more of my life back to Jesus, and in Him, I have found freedom, joy and stability that I could not find anywhere else.”
That’s what I originally had written in my last post. And it’s true. It’s also not constant. This side of salvation, I have freedom, joy and stability in Christ, unlike anything I’ve experienced elsewhere. And this side of eternity, there are also times I feel trapped, angry and insecure.
Recently, I’ve been studying the Gospel of Mark. Jesus regularly heals people and regularly tells them to keep quiet, to not tell anyone about what he did. At face value, it seems strange, especially when you know the great commission is to go and tell about what Jesus has done.
But before Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see him encouraging people to keep quiet about his miracles because he doesn’t want that to be the reason people come to him.
All of Jesus’ earthly miracles pointed to a greater miracle, to the gospel, to himself. The best was still to come. Jesus didn’t want to just give people temporary healing, temporary relief. He wanted to heal their souls, to give them eternal relief. He wanted to give them himself.
I can get so caught up wanting the fruit of knowing Jesus (love, joy, peace, patience…) that I forget to simply stay tethered to the Vine. And I can get so caught up in wanting others to have that fruit that I fear I can unintentionally offer it over the Giver himself.
The gift of the Gospel isn’t joy, it’s Jesus. In Him, we will bear fruit, we will have joy, because the Vine is healthy, the Vine is secure. Fruit will come. It will come this side of Heaven, and it will come in it’s fullness for all eternity.
But I’ve found myself so challenged lately – do I come to Jesus just because I want joy, freedom and stability? Or do I come to Jesus because I want him?
And when my emotions are absent those good feelings, is Jesus enough? Is his presence, his promise, his gospel sufficient?
I fear too many of us come to Jesus only because we want something from him, and not because we want him. I fear too many people come to Jesus to escape hell, opposed to coming to Jesus for restoration with the One whom a relationship with matters most.
Heaven isn’t the sale of the Gospel.
John Piper is quoted, “Could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?”
The first time I heard this, years ago, I knew the right answer was “no”, but I also couldn’t figure out why heaven wouldn’t satisfy if it held every other good thing.
Yet ironically, the concept is such a fundamental part of my story. I had everything I ever wanted. And I was not satisfied because the one thing I was missing was Jesus.
I stayed up late the night before my last post was scheduled to publish, editing and praying for the words to be clear that He is the reward, He is the one who brings satisfaction to our souls and graciously gives good things out of our relationship with him.
My prayer remains the same now – for myself, for any reader, and for the Church across the nations. May he satisfy us because he is Sufficient. He is El Shaddai. Whatever our circumstance, whatever our situation, whatever our emotions, He is enough.
“The most important (commandment),” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” – Mark 12:29-30 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22
Related Posts: El Shaddai, Lord Almighty, All Sufficient
But alas, how little fit for heaven are many who talk of going to heaven, when they die, while they manifestly have no saving faith and no real acquaintance with Christ. You give Christ no honor here. You have no communion with Him. You do not love Him. Alas, what could you do in heaven? It would be no place for you. Its joys would be no joys for you. Its happiness would be a happiness into which you could not enter. Its employments would be a weariness and a burden to your heart. Oh, repent and change before it be too late! —J. C. Ryle, from his sermon “Christ Is All” (on Col. 3:11)
Stepping in: What does the Bible say about Heaven? Read – Revelation 4 & 5. Spend some time in prayer and in worship as you read and reflect on the verses.
Journeying further: What do you say when you share your faith? Do you share your faith? Spend some time in prayer, asking God to remind you of what he’s done and who he is, praising him for his work and his character, and asking God to give you opportunities and people to share the Good News with.