Jesus Is More Than Enough – Ryan McLaughlin

Posted by sam

 If you’ve ever been to a youth service or been around any Christian circle for more than five minutes, you’ve probably heard something about identity. Who am I? What am I here for? Who does God say I am? While these are good questions, I couldn’t help but be frustrated when I heard them. Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, and yet we spend so much time contemplating and trying to understand ourselves in religious circles. Were the pastors wrong to be talking about this so much? No. But our hearts have a profound ability to take the truth and warp it to our own sinful desires when Christ is not the center of our lives. Our identity can so easily become misplaced, as our heart is constantly trying to look for our own significance instead of being in awe of Jesus. This can play out in a number of ways. 

Sharing the gospel with people is a great thing, and instruction from Jesus: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19), but our heart behind it can become about proving our worth to God as a Christian. We are told to work hard and give our best as believers “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24) and yet our work can quickly become about impressing those around us or proving that we are talented. If we aren’t careful, our flesh will make everything about ourselves. Being a child of grace, saved by the blood of Jesus suddenly isn’t enough. We need to have a great relationship with a significant other, a steady job or calling, a great community around us, and people to thank us for our hard work. Because can’t they tell? I deserve this. I’ve done the right things. I read my bible daily, I work with kids, I have led people to faith in Christ, I’m talented, I’m smart, etc. When our faith and identity is rooted in the love of Jesus AND our own desires for our life, we are lost. It may work for days, months, even years, but eventually, it will crumble when suffering comes, when our lives don’t go exactly as we planned. 

Look at some of our heroes from scripture. Did their lives get easier when they devoted themselves to Christ? No. Paul, Peter, and John the Baptist all ended up dead for their faith in Christ. Job was stricken with illness and had his family ripped from him. How did their faith withstand persecution, loss, suffering, and heartbreak? Because their identity was found in Jesus alone. They were people who realized just how sinful their hearts were and denied the voice from Satan that says you are special because of you. We are only special because of Jesus in us, and when we remind ourselves of this daily, it allows us to “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13) . We as Christians are promised suffering and the only way to endure it is with Jesus. What does a life with Christ look like? For some, it may be traveling the world and leading thousands to faith in Christ. For others, it may look like forgiving people that have done unimaginable things to you. But we are not promised easy. We are actually promised hard. Very very hard. I urge you to look at Jesus and see all the sin he has saved you from. Recognize that even our identity is not about us, but Jesus and his powerful work in saving us. Only then will we be able to withstand suffering and resist the urge to make our lives about us.

We aren’t significant, at least in the view of the world, but that is ok. Jesus has made us a child of his, and when we rejoice in his gift of grace over and over… we lose our quest to be enough. We realize Jesus is more than enough. 

Ryan Mclaughlin,

Just Jupiter

Posted in Devotions, Echoes From Final Fire | Tagged ,

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