How Much of Jesus?

Originally published Tuesday, 08 October 2013.

One Sunday my pastor began a sermon by asking, "How much of Jesus do you want?" My heart immediately responded, "All, I want all--of course!"

But the more I think about it, the more I realize, I live as though I only want a little of Jesus. In fact, Christ is usually relegated to my eternal salvation and the rest of my daily life is left up to me. I'd never say that and rarely would think it, but it's how I live. When my life is going smoothly, I take the credit. When life gets challenging, I often try to figure it out on my own. It's only when I'm at the bottom of a deep pit that I cry out for his help.

Not only that, but my heart is often discontented. I wander restless through my desert life and though I'm richly blessed, I complain and grumble for more. Rather than trust in the God who delivered me through my own exodus from death to life, I worry that I won't have all I need for tomorrow. I fear the giants in the land rather than believing Christ will be my fortress and deliverer. I don't believe that he will fill all my longings so I set up my own golden calf, seeking false substitutes to meet my needs.

The truth is, I so often seek what I need outside of Christ. When I am tired and overwhelmed, I think the solution is more rest and time to myself. When people let me down or hurt me, I think that everything would be better if they changed or I stayed away from them. When the kids don't do what I tell them to do, I think a new parenting strategy will make everything better. All throughout my day, I find myself seeking solutions to my daily problems and needs outside of Christ.

But Scripture tells me that Christ is sufficient for everything. He is more than enough to meet my every need, both now and in the future. His love is greater than any affection I could find elsewhere. He fulfills my deepest longings, not with things, experiences, or temporary satisfactions but with his very self. And the wonder of it is, I've barely skimmed the surface of all that I have in, through, and because of Christ. I'll never exhaust his riches and will spend an eternity discovering and learning more of him.

But I don't want to get to the end of my life and realize I barely touched the surface of all I could have in him. I don't want to spend this short time here living like a pauper when I'm actually the child of royalty. And I don't want to live as though this costly inheritance I've been given is less than desirous.

Paul prayed for the Ephesians that "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe" (Ephesians 1:17-19)..."I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:16-19).

I want to know more of Christ. I want to know even more of the hope to which he's called me. I want to know more and more of those riches that Paul described. I want this fickle heart to turn from all that distracts me and focus on him alone. I want to experience and grasp the depths of his love. I want to say with all that I am what Paul wrote in Philippians 3, "I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ" (v.8).

Yes, I want more of Christ!

So I am praying Paul's prayer and asking the Spirit to peel back the layers of my hard heart that keep me from him. I'm praying that he would fill my vision so much that I can't see anything else. When the details of life threaten to pull me away, I'm praying that I would seek Jesus instead of temporary solutions and counterfeit sources of rest and peace.

Because plumbing the depths of what I have in Christ is where I will find all that I long for. Having more of Christ and less of me is where real joy lies. To know him and be known by him is what I was created for--why would I waste my time on anything else? And while all around me breaks, lets me down, hurts and fails me, with Christ, the more I have of him, so much more then becomes available.

Christ is the source of living water, a spring that never runs dry. He is my manna, the Bread of Life. My heart is tired of tasteless fast food, the world's unfulfilled promises, and always seeking what is new and better. I want true refreshment and lasting peace. I want not just more of Christ in my life, I want all of Christ.

How about you? How much of Jesus do you want?