John and Paul

In 1967, John Lennon and Paul McCartney loudly declared that All You Need Is Love. And those words changed the world. They were a key part of a cultural revolution (they sang about that, too). They may not have gone about it the right way, but they weren’t entirely wrong.

Thousands of years before guitars got plugged in and a hairdo was referred to as a mop-top, Another John and another Paul spoke of a different kind of love that would change the world.

The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends to the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.

John 3:29-30 (NIV)

John, Jesus’ cousin, was known for baptising people. Some of his followers were a little upset when Jesus also began baptising. And there were more people in Jesus’ lineup on the shore than in John’s. Rather than joining the jealous conversation, John explained that now that Jesus had shown up and stepped up, his job was pretty much done. His entire purpose was to point people toward Jesus. And because people were going to Jesus, his purpose and his joy were made complete. His time was over. Jesus’ had begun.

If you have any encouragements from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

Philippians 2:1-2 (NIV)

Just as John was filled with joy at people following Jesus, Paul’s joy was made complete when the believers acted in one accord, displaying the attributes of Christ.

Lennon and McCartney may have landed on some very profound truths in their lyrics, but without ever knowing the true power behind those words, they are void of life. All of the focus was on the men behind the microphones.

The Baptist and The Apostle also landed on some very profound truths in their words. The difference here is that they both pointed the attention away from themselves and toward Jesus—the fulfillment of their proclamations.

The glory does not belong to us, but to Christ. All that we do should be a reflection of him and only serve to point others toward the cross. If all you need is love, love can be found in Christ at the foot of the cross. When you find Christ, your joy will also be complete.

Read: 2 Kings 1-3, John 3:22-36

Exactly

In all of our attempts to personify Jesus, I think we all tend to make a vital mistake—we imagine him as human.

Sure, Jesus was born on earth as a human, but that doesn’t make him human. To endow Christ with humanity would also be to endow him with the flaws that come with our nature. While he was human in the very base sense of the word, he was not really one of us.

The Son reflects God’s own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of our sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

Hebrews 1:3 (NLT)

Jesus, in order to become a sacrifice for us, had to put on human flesh. But he did not put on human nature. He was and is the exact representation of God—because he is God.

When God sent Christ to earth for the purpose of becoming a sacrifice for all of humanity, He did not send just a portion of Himself or a feathered carbon copy. He sent all of Himself. The term glory in this passage refers to the perfection that is God—the perfection that Jesus reflected while he walked the earth.

There was nothing partial in who Jesus was and is and there is nothing partial about the salvation that he purchased. Jesus represents God exactly and that means that he was exactly what was required as a complete and final sacrifice for our sin. And, when he finished his work, he sat down. At the right hand of the Father. Exactly where he belongs.

Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 38-39, Hebrews 1

With you always

As a single person who lives alone, I find it difficult (and sometimes even unappealing) to imagine never being alone. But that is exactly what Jesus promised when he appeared to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:20b

This statement immediately followed what we now refer to as The Great Commission.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.

Matthew 28:18-20a

When we take our roles as disciples of Christ seriously. When we do his work. He is with us always. And not only is he with us, his power is to. That complete authority in heaven and on earth follows us around giving us the power we need to complete the Commission. Always.

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 20-21, Matthew 28:1-20

The secrets of the Kingdom

Do you ever feel as though, the more time you spend in the presence of God, the more you understand and want to experience the presence of God? But as soon as you stop taking the time, that feeling goes away and you forget what it’s like to truly experience God.

Jesus spoke to His disciples about this very thing.

Then he explained to them, “You have been permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others have not. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them…

Matthew 13:11-12 (NLT)

This is why continual study of the Word of God and regular church attendance is so important. The more you get, the more you will yet receive. But as soon as you close your fist, the gravy train ends and all that you had will be lost. Our faith, our relationship with God is a process, not a single event.

My dear friends, you have always obeyed God when I was with you. It is even more important that you obey now while I am away from you. Keep working to complete your salvation with fear and trembling because God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:12-13 (NCV)

Daily Bible reading: Genesis 41, Matthew 13:1-32

Sufficient

Here’s another big word for you that, the more you say it or think about it, the weirder it gets. But what does it really mean? When Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 12 about God’s grace being sufficient is it just barely enough to scrape by or is it enough for us to live a victorious life?

SUFFICIENT:

Enough; equal to the end proposed; adequate to wants, competent.

Qualified; competent; possessing adequate talents or accomplishments.

Fit; able; of competent power or ability.

Thinking about sufficiency in that context, let’s take a look at Paul’s words.

…But he also said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough – always available – regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is complete and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may swell in me.

2 Corinthians 12:9 (AMP)

More than enough. Always available. That is what sufficiency is with God. Never running out. Having enough to complete the work that was started. When you look at grace that way, no one, no one, is beyond saving. There is nothing you have ever said or done that is beyond what God is able to cover with His grace.

Daily Bible reading: Song of Solomon 1-3, 2 Corinthians 12

Satisfied

When I was a kid, we spent a lot of time in the car. Once a month, we’d be on the road from one city to the next to visit family. Late in the evening when the sun had gone down and we could see the shimmer of the lights of home in the distance, we’d turn on oldies radio. Guaranteed, every time that station came on while we drove that particular highway, we’d hear the Rolling Stones (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. All six of us would sing along at the top of our lungs.

The song has become somewhat of an anthem for generations. The whole world sings, I can’t get no satisfaction, ’cause I try and I try and I try.

The solution to this epidemic is simple.

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14 (ESV)

Satisfaction will never and can never be found in ourselves or the world around us. True and complete satisfaction can only come from the love of God.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 90-92; Romans 11:1-21