True freedom means allowing Jesus to be enough

lisbon, statue, travel


What do those words mean in your life? What completes you? What would it take to make you content? At what point would you be able to say “I have all I need in life.”

Walk into most churches, and I suspect you will hear that Jesus is enough — that when hope is lost and you have nothing left — Jesus is sufficient. You will likely hear that salvation is about grace, and that while works are important, they aren’t necessary. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to solve our sin problem.

It’s a good teaching. The reality we live in is that we are messed up and without hope. There is no way for us to help ourselves. We’re so messed up, that God had to bring His own footprints into time and space and die a criminal’s death, which He lovingly did 2,000 years ago on a cross outside of Jerusalem. Theologically speaking, Jesus is sufficient. In Him we can find true satisfaction.

But how many of us actually live our lives that way? How many of us are truly free and living a life that says to our neighbors, “Jesus is enough.”

It’s not what I see when I look around me. It’s not what I see in my own life. The truth of the Bible is that Jesus is enough, He is the only one who satisfies and completes us. But none of us really want to believe that truth. We would rather tack something of our own onto it, so that we can get a little credit.

Jesus isn’t enough for us. We want it to be Jesus and our righteousness, or Jesus and our good doctrine, Jesus and our moral resolve, Jesus and our tithing, Jesus and our giving to charity, Jesus and our healthy lifestyle, Jesus and the church we go to, or Jesus and our quiet time. Maybe it’s Jesus and our worship, or Jesus and our parenting skills or Jesus and our good marriage.

But don’t do that. Don’t let yourself fall into that trap.

When we do that, we cheapen what Christ did for us. We start to take Jesus for granted, and compete with each other on whatever we’ve decided to add of our own, and then what we’ve added with good intentions becomes an idol. We start comparing doctrines, suddenly ours has to be the best, or our morality has to be better than everyone else’s, or we have to give more, or go to church more often, and soon it becomes our rituals and our legalism that we are serving and not our God.

In the end, our religiosity makes us unhappy, and the world looks at us and says, “Why in the world would I want to know their Lord?” The truth is, what they see from us, is exactly the thing Jesus came to save us from.

There’s a freedom in knowing that Jesus is enough and that is work on the cross was complete. Think how much more forgiving we could be if we believed that and lived in the light of that truth? If Christ on the cross is enough to fully satisfy, then I don’t have to strive for anything other than Christ to make my life complete. I don’t have to store up earthly possessions or compete with the Joneses or worry about if I’ve been good enough to get in Heaven. I can focus on God and his kingdom.

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