Am I Enough for You?
Posted on August 22, 2018 by America's Keswick in Freedom Fighters
Whenever our Lord talked about the relation of a disciple to Himself it was in terms of mystical union: “I am the vine [not the root of the vine, but the vine itself], ye are the branches.” We have not paid enough attention to the illustrations Jesus uses. This is the picture of sanctification in the individual, a completeness of relationship between Jesus Christ and myself. Pharisaic holiness means that my eyes are set on my own whiteness and I become a separate individual. I have the notion that I have to be something; I have not, I have to be absolutely abandoned to Jesus Christ, so one with Him that I never think of myself apart from Him. Love is never self-conscious.
Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked. I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O LORD, proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells. Do not sweep my soul away with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, in whose hands are evil devices, and whose right hands are full of bribes. But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be gracious to me. My foot stands on level ground; in the great assembly I will bless the LORD.
~ David, A man after G_d’s own heart, Psalm 26
Oh beloved, it is true.
We are a people who are ravenous. We hunger and thirst in ways that cannot be filled in this life. And, just as we have some sort of satisfying experience, we realize that it only brings a deeper want behind it. We do, as a dear pastor friend of mine has said: “We get hungry for what we eat.”
This fool of a writer has shared much of his story in a number of forums. And, it is in Freedom Fighters where you can see much of my journey of faith in Jesus. You also may have read that I have had the privilege of living in, or preaching in a number of countries around the world. I have been to places that are true battlegrounds in both the physical and spiritual realm. I have quite literally been in a few corners where I thought I might not escape.
But, to be honest, living on the bleeding edge of the Great Commission has its benefits. When one is out on the plains of Inner Mongolia sharing true Life with others; when training future leaders in the shadows of the volcanoes of Surabaya; when fighting poverty on Negros Occidental; when bringing hope to the people on the trash mountains of Jakarta, one gets the sense that they are WAY in over their head.
The problems involved are just too big to handle on our own. And this forms within us a desperate sense of just how desperately we have fallen short. We are gasping for Grace. There is so much death and corruption in our environment (and in our flesh) that we cry out for strength from our Creator.
And, of course, He gives us what we need. He is the Righteous One Who holds us up with His Right hand. Jesus is enough.
Recently though, my life has been through a radical change. I am sitting in a very expensive, leather easy-chair as I write. I am in a place where, at the push of a few buttons on my phone, items just show up on my doorstep. G_d pulled us off the frontlines in Asia, and sent me back to teach at a school for at-risk youth in the Southwest of the USA. But, instead of living right in, or right near the squalor and death, I am comfortably sheltered and fed in a very nice neighborhood.
Can we see it?
Location and material goods cannot deliver on our terrible need.
So, as I have been back in the US for about two months, the culture stress of re-entry, the longing brought on by an extended separation from my wife (as she prepares to move over here from our home in The Philippines), and the disillusionment of being in a place where few care about the billions who are dying, has combined to put my soul in a fair amount of pain.
And with this change-driven malaise has come the opportunities for the flesh to try and re-exert its power. It comes in like a flood. All of it: Fear, doubt, anger, lust, judgmentalism, laziness, and the desire for self-comfort are all vying to be the ‘answer’ to my current situation. Of course, none of what the flesh offers is going to work, but I confess that I have given into some of this despair over the past few weeks. And, while I am not going out and getting drunk or high, I am not always living in the place of abiding in Him. I have been listening too much to the old, dead voice within me, instead of Him and the new Life He has made me into.
A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking to a pastor about all of this (including the failure). First, he said something that was true. He mentioned that the devil doesn’t like it when a man has given himself completely to Jesus. So, expect attacks. Then, he also challenged me to get 30 minutes set aside to just get into His Presence and listen. It was great advice. For, when we are quiet enough, we know His Voice.
It wasn’t ten seconds into my meditation. He spoke to me.
He said, “Mak, am I not enough for you?
He was so gentle in His rebuke. But, I realized in that moment that I was living as though He was not. Every choice and sin and feeling I was experiencing was a simple function of ceasing to believe that Jesus Himself is indeed enough.
What has come over me in the past few days is this intense godly sorrow. It is the hindsight that comes from our willingness to look at where we fall short. Nearly all of my pain has been self-inflicted. And the pain occurred because i had made a simple choice over the past couple of months – the choice to not believe that my Best Friend was exceedingly, abundantly more that I needed to get through all of this.
So, are you feeling like Jesus is not enough? You (and this fool of a writer) will want to change that thought.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Think About This: In essence, there is only one thing God asks of us—that we be men and women of prayer, people who live close to God, people for whom God is everything and for whom God is enough. That is the root of peace. We have that peace when the gracious God is all we seek. When we start seeking something besides Him, we lose it. As Merton said in the last public address before his death, “That is his call to us—simply to be people who are content to live close to him and to renew the kind of life in which the closeness is felt and experienced.”
~ Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off. ~Proverbs 23:18