Christ and competitors for our affections

It was a Saturday morning. I sat poking through my Bible, aimlessly reading some Scripture, hoping to accomplish some Jesus time so I could next scroll through Pinterest. And then I read the first couple verses of John. “In him was life” (John 1:4).

I paused and sighed. Of course it is – life is in Jesus. It is only in Jesus.

I wonder if one of the biggest pulls against our faith right now is the deception that we can find life anywhere else. We have so much available, so immediately, to satisfy our attraction to the things of this world, to things that are tangible.

But life is not in Pinterest. Life is not in shopping, in money, in a job, in perfectly well-mannered kids, in time alone, in popularity, in comfort, in safety, in approval. Life is in Christ, and in Christ alone. It’s both exclusive and inclusive – that Christ is the only way, and he is available to all people. And it’s the theme we see throughout John’s entire book.

He clearly lays out his purpose: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31, emphasis added).

And it’s exactly the Gospel. That after man severed the relationship with our Creator, Jesus restored it. And he is willing to transfer anyone into his kingdom that calls on him.

But it’s not new news to most of us. It’s probably quite familiar. And yet we still live in a tension between what we know and how we act: we are made righteous in Christ, but we live like this life is the best we’ll get.

We drift. But never naturally towards Christ or holiness. 

We need reminders. Counsel. Intentionality. To continually fall at the feet of Jesus and delight in his presence. To believe his words and be submerged in Truth.

He is the One whose love for us is so great that he would rather be stripped of his own holiness than lose the ones he created. He paid the debt himself so he could once again dwell among his beloved. So he could give life to those in death. 

Pinterest, shopping, money, jobs… they aren’t sin, praise God, but worshiping them is. And the difference can be difficult to discern. However, like anything, the answer is always wrapped up in an ongoing relationship with the One who gives us life.

All the way back in the garden, Adam and Eve were clearly warned: eat of this tree, and you will surely die. And they did. 

God knew he would have to send life back into the world. A greater life – one that could not be held by the grave, one that could not be conquered by death.

Jesus. He lived a perfect life, died, and rose again.

It isn’t that maybe we will find life in Christ. It’s a promise. We have life, because he is alive.

Jesus is the one who won and the one who wins forever. He holds the most power, the top of the top, the greatest. And He is also the one who calls us friend. We get to come to him directly. Tell him of our struggles. Be reminded of his grace. And experience life.

We can enjoy the things of this world and enjoy them best when we hold true priorities. I still try to have time in the Word before I have time on Pinterest. But Christ can never be a means to an end. For He is the end himself, both the Alpha and the Omega. There is nothing better than him. Nothing else that will last forever. And nothing else that will give us life eternal in a kingdom of a loving, generous, beautiful King. 

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10

Jesus answered, “I am the way the truth and the life.” – John 14:6

Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. 

– Psalm 86:12-13

Consider: What are some of the things that compete for your affection or worship? Why do you turn to those things? How often do you talk to God about it? Why?

Read: John 1:1-5, John 10:10, Romans 5:12-21, James 1:13-15

Respond: Make a chart – “Life/light” on one side, “Death/darkness” on another. What does scripture say about each? Fill in each side.

Pray: Talk to God! We are called to love him first. He cares so much about our hearts. Talk to him about what his word says, what your notes reveal, and what your life displays. What is he teaching you?

Sing: Abundant Life – Eleven22 Worship

Live your life in me

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