Tag Archives: sufficiency

The Sufficiency of God: Rock for the Present, Hope for the Future

The classroom is an excellent place to be.  One learns so much in such a place, but you can’t stay there forever.  Life requires you to venture out and live.  But because none of us have the memory of an elephant, we forget things and we need to return to the classroom of life again and again.

For the Christian, the Bible has all the lessons we need, but if you’re like me you wonder at times “Is this really true?”  I can remember countless times finding myself in a conflict.  Angry at someone who wronged me, denying the urge to revenge and embracing the escapist mentality.  I run away and go do something else that will consume my mind in hopes of drowning my anxieties in worthless busyness.  The other extreme can be equally useless, that of immediately spouting off the tongue with the emotions of the moment.  In so being reactionary we often harm those we love.

If we truly believe that the Bible is true, and what it says about itself is true, than Christ is sufficient for everything.  That trustworthy statement could have transformed so many situations for me.  Instead of running away or instead of giving full vent to my tongue, with self-control I could have brought my situation to the Lord and humbly ask His wisdom in the matter.

He is so sufficient!  Isn’t it funny how we do this.  In the moment we say, “My temper can’t handle thinking about anything but alcohol right now, so I’ll just take a sip…..but Jesus? NO!  I need something here and now!”  It’s like we forget stories like how God saved the Isrealites from the Egyptians, or how God delivered Israel in countless battles, or consider this verse that epitomizes the suffiiciency of God for us on into eternity.

“And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”  – Revelations 21:22-23

This is talking about heaven, when John the apostle saw Jerusalem descending onto earth he noticed there was no temple, and no need for the sun and moon.  In other words, the Glory of God and the presence of the Lamb, which is Jesus Christ, will be our sufficiency and true good.  There will be no need to offer sacrifices anymore, no need to worry about things done in the hurry of the day or the necessity of rest at night.  There will be no more sin, no death, no more pain.  God will be our sufficiency in the most amazing way!!

This is not just hope we have for the future, but an echo for the present.  We are fallen creatures and not perfect yet, as Christ is, but even so God extends his sufficiency to us who will take it.  And grasp it and cling to it we ought.  Like a floundering drowning sailor at sea swims and clings to a floating board of wood, so we too must struggle against pride and selfish-ness and anything that might hinder us from humbly reaching out to the ever-sufficient hand of God.

“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”  – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Winter Blues and the All-Sufficiency of Christ

As I’m writing this, I am what I wrote.  Grumpy!  I am also in pain.  My neck hurts and feels like Bruce Lee just chopped into the side of my neck.  My elbow has been hurting me for three weeks, inhibiting me from working out, and doing the things I want to.  Oh, lets not talk about that looming dentist check up I’m due for…like 10 years overdue for (I’ve been poor for quite some time, have pity for me?)  And the sun, does it even exist?  I mean its January in the cold north, but c’mon….and it goes on and on.

It’s no secret.  The winter doesn’t necessarily bring out the best in us.  The weather doesn’t naturally bring us outside as it does during summer.  In summer, the sun calls us into its warm sunny playground, asking us to drink deeply of its days of summer. Come the winter solstice, the sun becomes more like that grumpy friend who at his best day growls some sort of complaint, and so is bestowed to us the same tendency.  In fact, I don’t know of anyone who is just ENRAPTURED by the dark of winter.  “Oh YAAY, darkness, cool air on my neck, weather to make my joints stiff, kind of like……when I DIE!”

So what is the solution?  Many people have different ways of coping with winter.  From the rich northerly traditions of Minnesota, people often find relief in outdoor sports like cross country skiing, snow-shoeing, winter camping, and hunting.  Sometimes we turn our ski slopes into tubing hills, in which we SCREAM down hills in inner tubes, for those who can’t stand up on wooden planks on a hill.

Me?  What do I do?  Well I like to think about what I would do, ideally.  Because what I currently do is not all that exciting (saunas….thats all I have to say).  I think the best way to do winter would be to build myself a mountain chalet.  One right on the side of some mountains, with a huge fireplace.  No four fireplaces, so there could be nice little circles of discussion and activity around each.  One could be the Irish music circle, where men and women both old and young could sing Irish songs outloud to each other while sipping “spiced” cider, with toothless grandpa dancing a jig around everyone.  Or another circle could have CS Lewis read his books to us, and give a commentary to everything (yes, in this world CS Lewis would be alive).  And then in the back, Jesus would be leading Sunday School type lessons, with felt-boards recounting how silly Peter looked when he learned he couldn’t walk on water….

Wait, Jesus in the back?  But isn’t that what we do sometimes?  Were down, depressed, blue, and what do we do?  Take a look at our bookshelves, “Hm, what does CS Lewis have to say about winter blues?”  Or maybe we go to alcohol and drink the blues away right into bed.  Or do you cry out to the maker of your body?  Do you talk to the artisan of the Universe who thought of the idea of darkness and snow before you were born?  Do you ask the architect of seasons who made them just the way he wanted to, and ask him to help you?  The Word of God says, we don’t have things, because we don’t ask.  Are you asking?  Just sayin’.

Join me in recalibrating our worldview, so that God once again rests at the core of our lives, the All Sufficient One, the Gracious One, the Understanding One, the Healing One, the only force in the Universe capable of blowing away the winter blues with the fresh warm air of His Word!!

Perhaps winter is one of those classrooms where God sits at the fringes just waiting, just waiting to teach you, to show you just how sufficient He is.

A very strange man and simplicity

Today as I was coming home on the train I noticed someone peculiar enter the train and sit not too far from me.  He had a confederate style long-coat from the Civil War, army boots from the Vietnam era but fashionably shiny!  Long disheveled hair that came scrunchingly down to his shoulders and the back of his head puffed up like he had just removed his morning pillow and checked it at the El Train entrance.  When he sat down a thought came across my mind, “Why is he wearing a confederate coat?  Oh no…he is probably one of those hyper-southern boys who think the south will rise again.  Daaaang it!  I hope he doesn’t go off on any black people in here.”

Upon sitting down he creased his face with a smile ever so slight, that if he were to relax it at all, it might appear he was more constipated than smiling.  The smile didn’t disappear for the entire ride.  In fact it would ebb and flow from a full out toothy smile to a mere smirk.  Most of the time he was just sitting there with his eyes closed.  At first I thought “Man this guy has to be on crack!  He’s enjoying his lonesome self WAY too much.”  There was just something off about him.

It was then that I noticed something horrible!  His hands were in his confederate coat, with his backpack on his lap, moving towards his “mid-section area”.  He even at one point……never mind, this is a PG rated website.  Suffice to say he was feeling himself up.

That’s where my story ends, and where my introspection started!  I thought to myself…

What if he was mentally simple?

What if in being simple, his world was really really small?

What keeps me from just busting out in an all out smile on the El?

Here are my thoughts.  We all like to feel taken care of, on a very basic level.  We like to have food in the fridge, we like to feel well and not sick, we like to feel loved, we like to feel as if someone, somewhere is thinking about us and cares for us.  We have all those needs, plus needs that we wish we didn’t have.  We wish we didn’t have bills, rent, an ornery teenager to confront when you get home, a leaky faucet your wife has been nagging you to fix, or you just wish you would feel satisfied with yourself, but you don’t because you may be a perfectionist, always SOMETHING to improve on.

Now what if all those went away!!  Yeah, what if there were no bills, no nasty comittments, no uncomfortable appointments….Boom!  Gone!  What if it was just you and your family.

Our ability of satisfaction is deeply connected with our appetite of things we desire.  If a man has a big stomach, it will take a big meal to satisfy him, whereas a small stomach requires less.  A mansion requires much furnishing and decor for it to feel like it was meant to be, a mansion.  You don’t put a studio’s worth of furniture into a mansion.

Are you happy?  Do you constantly feel under-par with yourself?  Our life appetite just may be too big for us!

Coming back to the stomach analogy, it may not be what food we get to fill our stomach, but where we get the food from.  A question of sufficiency!  We are beings that have been created for eternity, therefore we may find ourselves with a life appetite that nothing mortal or perishable can satisfy.  We are in need of something divine, something eternal, something that will LAST!!

Enter into the sufficiency of Christ!!