What is one thing you can’t live without? That thing that would send you into a downward spiral if you lost it? That thing you need for your life to feel fulfilled?
Think about it for a minute.
That was a question we’ve been discussing in church and D-group the last couple of weeks. It makes my head hurt and yet has opened my eyes to how I perceive my reality.
My first instinct was Patrick. I can’t live without my husband.
But, I can live without my husband.
My second instinct was children. I want children. Living children.
But, I can live without children.
The list goes on… My family, my friends, my career, my home, my health.
Losing any of those things could send me on a downward spiral.
What does that say about me? What does that say about my faith?
Life goes on despite monumentous loss. We survive these things that we often can’t even fathom. I see people dealing with these things every day. How do we do it? How do I do it?
I know some people say strength and fortitude and a positive attitude.
I am talking about deeper purpose and something bigger than just getting through.
I know some people will disagree, but that something is Jesus. And maybe I am hum drum, but I don’t feel like I can find meaning in all of life and things without Him.
The passage we were looking at is John 6. It is a long sucker, but the cool part is that John is really intentional in his writing. He doesn’t include irrelevant details and generally stuff goes together to kind of show some bigger point about Jesus. He wrote the book, so that people would believe, so that makes sense.
This is the loaves and fishes chapter. It is also the walking on water and calming the seas passage.
I have seriously heard those stories a thousand times, so what is the big deal?
Well, check this out…
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone wholooks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” –John 6:25-40 ESV
It is kind of a ridiculous conversation. Jesus kind of talks in riddles (Is that blasphemous of me to say? I mean he really does kind of say stuff that comes off as bizarre and people don’t get him…) and the people He is teaching struggle with getting the point. Heck, even the disciples get kind of weirded out.
But this is what it is getting at (I am not that clever, this is what others say it is getting at and it makes sense to me)…
Jesus is enough.
Love the giver and not the gifts. You aren’t sustained (really) by things and relationships and all that stuff. In the end, even the thing you most want to cling to and think will make you complete won’t.
In essence, you can’t take it with you when you go. But when you go, you’re going to want Him on your side.
I like concrete things, so this is tough to process. How do I make Jesus enough. How do I stop being satisfied in stuff and people and start being satisfied in Him? How do I stop trying to fix and control things, but know that it is all completed through Him for His glory?
That isn’t something I just do.
In our conversations over the last little bit, our group has discussed that it is a tough thing to put into practice. It starts with having the desire (just like kicking or starting any habit, you need to want to start).
I’ve got that.
Action starts with awareness.
I have come to realize what I prioritize. What I think will fill me up and keep me content.
I am trying to remember that that satisfaction, although very real, is short lived and not complete. And that there is much more out there than having a happy marriage (although it is super important for a bunch of reasons).
Having real purpose and deep seated peace and joy is bigger than stuff. It is bigger than comfort. Sometimes we have to suffer well and know we aren’t alone in this.
Being sustained by Christ alone isn’t simple. It isn’t intuitive. And it is definitely by standards of our culture weird. But that’s okay (and I need to remember that).