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Is God Enough?

The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘Is God Enough?’ preached by Pastor Mike White on Sunday, 3/1/2015, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click here:

Is God Enough?

We all come to church for different reasons. The one common thread in all of our journeys to (or back to) church is that we needed something from God.

That may sound like a selfish statement. However, it’s true. There’s no need to be embarrassed about acknowledging that you first sought God because you needed something from Him. There should be no guilt, condemnation or shame attached to that recognition.

After all, all of us ultimately came to God because we needed salvation. We realized that He is the only way to heaven. God requires perfection, and that is a standard of which we are wholly incapable. We need Jesus Christ for salvation and forgiveness; and when we need God, He is more than willing to satisfy our needs.

I grew up in church, but lost interest when I left home for college. I had my whole life – a bright future – in front of me. But after graduating from an Ivy League university and starting a promising career in finance, I realized that something was still missing. I came back to church because I needed fulfillment: a release from emptiness. I needed purpose in my life, and a deeper meaning for which I should live.

Some people come to church to be set free from addictions. Others come to conquer self-defeating attitudes and destructive mindsets that have plagued them their entire lives. Others come to be healed from sickness, illness and disease.

All of these reasons are valid. Whatever our reasons for coming, God will use them for good. Why we first came to church is not important; but why we stay in church certainly is. That is what we’re after here.

We’re all here because the first time we came to church, we needed something from God. But once we’re here, we should stay because we need more of Him.

Means to An End

When we first start a relationship with God, He is a means to an end. Again, this is nothing to be ashamed of: we must acknowledge that reality and move forward from there.

To a certain extent, all of us use God. We might use Him for financial blessing: Proverbs 10:22 says that His blessings make us rich, and add to no sorrow to it! Or, we may use Him for career advancement: the blessings outlined in Deuteronomy 28 say that God will bless the work of our hands when we obey His commandments. Or, we just might use Him for personal promotion: Deuteronomy 28 also says that He will make us the head, and not the tail.

I do believe that God will meet us at our point, and moment, of absolute need. When we cling to Him in desperation, He will lift us out of the storm we’re facing in our lives. But once we’re back on solid ground, we need to reassess our motives. Instead of using God, we must seek to be used by God.

God wants us to seek Him: not because we get something out of it, but because when we seek Him, we find Him. He is the Prize. Without Him, nothing we can gain in this life is of any value whatsoever! Jesus illustrated this to His disciples as He called them to leave everything and follow Him:

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

– Mk 8:34-36

If we gain the whole world, but lose our relationship with God in the process, then we are left with nothing. But when we cling to Him as our Source of life, it is impossible to fail.

A mark of Christian maturity is making the transition from using God to being used by God: allowing God to use us. Solomon models this beautifully for us:

On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?” And Solomon said to God: “You have shown great mercy to David my father, and have made me king in his place. Now, O Lord God, let Your promise to David my father be established, for You have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people; for who can judge this great people of Yours?” Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king— wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.” – 2 Chron 1:7-12

Solomon could have asked for anything! He was a young king, and he shouldn’t have known any better than to ask for the desires of his heart. But he put his own desires aside, and asked for what God needed him to have.

Solomon refused to use God for wealth, fame and glory; instead, he chose to be used by God for His glory! Solomon recognized what God had called him to do, and he asked for the resources to fulfill his purpose. In return, God promised to make him richer, and wiser, than any king who had lived throughout the course of human history.

When we forsake God for the pursuit of earthly riches, we will be left with neither God nor riches. But when we forsake earthly riches to follow God, He will bless us with both.

As God’s people, we can have full confidence in His ability to meet all our needs when we focus on Him:

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matt 6:31-33

God is not the means to an end; He is the end. When we pursue Him with our whole heart, He will take care of all our material needs so that we have the space to fulfill our pursuit.

The Pearl of Great Price

If everything you had was taken away from you, and all you had left was God, would He be enough? Our answer to that question should be a resounding yes. But, if you’re like me, you hesitated. Most of us want God and. We want God plus all the promises He comes with. But if you had God and God alone, would He be enough to satisfy your every need?

Jesus should be our only priority. He outlined this very clearly for the end-time church:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Rev 1:8

Jesus is not just the beginner of our faith; He’s also the finisher. He’s not just our Creator; He’s also our Redeemer. He didn’t just start a good work in us; He also promises to complete His workmanship through each and every one of us.

So wherever you’re struggling with, and whatever issue is staring you straight in the face, put Jesus right in the middle of it. Jesus gives John the cheat-sheet in Rev 1:8 (above). He says, “I AM.” Whatever question we’re asking, He is the Answer. Whatever issue we’re facing, He is the answer. And when we allow ourselves to forget about our problems and our struggles, and simply focus in on Him, He will make sure we never have any reason to regret that choice.

How can you find a satisfying career? Put Jesus at the center. What do you need to do to make ends meet financially? Put Jesus at the center. How can you make your relationships work? Put Jesus at the center. How do you resolve life’s biggest questions: why am I here, and what is my purpose? Put Jesus at the center.

Every one of life’s major questions, no matter how big or how small, is answered with one word: Jesus. I’ve gotten into the habit of speaking His name out loud whenever I feel anxiety or stress. It’s a reminder that I should be focusing on Him. It’s a reminder that mountains melt like wax at His presence (Ps 97:5). It’s a reminder that when I focus on Him, He takes care of my burdens for me.

We have it ingrained in our heads that speaking Jesus’ name out loud means we’re taking Him in vain. But when I speak the name Jesus out loud, it’s the start of a conversation. I’m making my concerns known to Him, and I’m inviting Him to speak into my life. Speaking His name can never be vain or lifeless when I have a full, healthy relationship with Him.

If you’re living your life with Jesus at the center, earthly things will lose their luster. They will slowly stop glittering and lose their appeal as we become more like Him. Jesus invites us to know the only thing that matters: He is our reason for living. He is the prize:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. – Matt 13:44-46

You have found the Pearl of Great Price. He’s not a possession; He Is a Person. And He is inviting You into a life of intimacy with Him!

Transformative Faith

God invites all of us to undergo a beautiful transformation in life. Once we do, we will never be the same:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. – Ps 37:3-4

David started out trusting in God to satisfy his material needs. He needed literal provision, and God provided it. David fed on His faithfulness at every turn.

But somewhere along the way, David lost interest in his material needs. He started to delight in God Himself. He stopped using God, and presented himself as a fully yielded vessel to be used by God. He found himself dancing in the streets in his underwear as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalem (2 Sam 6:14). He abandoned concern for what everyone else thought for the sake of cherishing God’s opinion.

When we delight ourselves in God, He becomes our One Desire. And when our desires transform, He will give them into our hand. He will give us as much of Himself as we can possibly handle.

– by Pastor Mike White

© Michael D. White, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael D. White with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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