For the last several months, I have been trying to wrap my mind around this one thing: “If I had everything I wanted but didn’t have Jesus, I would have nothing. And if I had nothing but Jesus, I would have everything.”
It is easy for me to have tunnel vision of my own life. I focus on how to make my life comfortable and easy. It is easy for me to love ministry and everything God has given me, but not love God Himself. I don’t want to encounter pain, doubt, or fear. Who does? But I often forget that Jesus said this: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
If we are truly going to follow Jesus, we cannot simply follow Him on the roads to Jerusalem and Bethlehem where he did ministry and lived life with those He loved. We must also follow Him on the road to Gethsemane and Calvary where He said “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). You see, Jesus asked the Father to spare Him from the pain and anguish of the cross. But he ultimately desired to be obedient.
We can ask God to spare us from pain, grief, and discomfort. But are we willing to follow that prayer with a genuine, “Your will be done, Lord.”? Are you willing to open your hands to Him and say, “God, whatever you give me, I will say yes?”
God is weaving together a tapestry bigger than what our eyes can see. This tapestry is the Kingdom vision that is sure (Revelation 7:9). Each of us is utterly significant to complete the tapestry. But our lives are not our own because they were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). If we get caught up in thinking the whole tapestry is about us, or that we are not significant to the completion of the tapestry, we will miss out on the beauty of it all.
It is easy for me to miss out on God’s redemption plan for humanity because I am too focused on the logistics of God’s plan for my own life. I don’t want to miss out on it because I’m focused on the mission before the Savior. We cannot merely live life for Christ. We must live it with Him. It is not okay for us to love and get excited about the cause of Christ, but not love and get excited about Christ Himself.
We are not left alone to figure out how to live as God intended. As Jesus-followers, the Spirit lives in us (Romans 8:9). The Spirit runs through our veins and sits deep in the marrow of our bones. He voice beats within our heartbeats. He intercedes with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26).
His power gives us a Kingdom lens to look at life through, and uniquely enables us to live out God’s plan for our individual lives. We have been given the Gospel to speak to lost men and women who are seeking a home that can only be found in and with their Creator. The Spirit of the living God is the voice by which we are to speak out of and truly love and serve others. This Spirit prompts us to love the Savior. To walk intimately with the one who knows us intimately. To speak out of an overflow of our love for Him.
King David once said, “Because your love is better than life, I will praise you” (Psalm 63:3). Do you believe this? Do I?
The reality is this…NOTHING is better than Jesus. I lack no thing because I have Him.
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Jenny Vang, Hope Church member