Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm Content, But Thanks Anyway Jesus

                I am getting ready for our study tonight in John, and as I was going over the chapter and re-reading my notes, something jumped off the page at me. In chapter 13 Jesus is telling His disciples that He is going away and life is going to get rough for them. He tells them that someone is going to betray Him (13:21), Peter will deny Him (13:38) and He is going to go away (13:33). The disciples basically begin to freak out. But Jesus opens Chapter 14 with words that will bring them into a deeper, more intimate understanding of what is going to soon take place. He looks at the fear in their eyes and says, “Let not your heart be
troubled…” (John 14:1) He goes on to tell them that He is going to go and prepare a place for them so that they all can be together again. He tells the disciples more about Himself, that He is the way, the truth and the life. It was a beautiful time of fellowship, and then Phillip speaks.
                “Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” John 14:8
                Here Jesus is, telling His disciples that they have nothing to fear, they will be okay and Phillip opens his mouth and says, “Just show me the Father and I will be content, I won’t need anything else.” He basically looks at Jesus and tells Him that if Jesus would just reveal the Father then he will be good to go. As I was reading this scripture, I thought about what it means to be content, and how God calls us to be content in life but not in Him.
                Phillip just wants peace. He wants to know that all is well and that he can sit back and relax- not having to work so hard anymore or fight so much anymore. He just wants the cake without the work of baking it. He wants to be content. It is good for us to be content in our lives. God calls us to be content with our situations, circumstances, trials and troubles. But what we are not to be content about is our relationship with Him. He wants us to grow and to be more than just contented church goers- He wants us to desire Him, to seek Him and to know Him more daily. Phillip, however, just wanted to know enough to get him through. Unfortunately, I think that can be said about a lot of us who profess Christ.
   But what was Jesus’ response to Phillip’s desire to be content? Jesus replied, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Phillip?” (John 14:9) Jesus looks at Phillip and says, “I have been with you all this time and yet you do not see nor want to see that I am the Father, come in the flesh for your sake?” In our churches today, I believe that there are many men and women who are content in their relationships with Jesus. Content to just sit and do the works that are requested, serve in a way that is comfortable and never seek to go any deeper. This, my fellow brothers and sisters, is not the contentment that God calls us to. We should never be at a place where we are content in our relationship with Christ.
                God calls us to be content, yes, that is true. He calls us to be content and satisfied in the way life goes. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:8 that we are to be content with our food and clothing, and the writer of Hebrews tells us that we are to be content with what we have. (Hebrews 13:5) But nowhere does God tell us to be content in our knowledge of Him. Being content with what we have is a holy calling. Without contentment we cannot know peace. Contentment means to be satisfied and want nothing else. Paul stated that he learned to be content in whatever state he was in. (Philippians 4:11) But all these scriptures refer to a contentment in earthly things, not in regards to our relationship with Christ.
                There should be a desire in us to go deeper, to dive into the Word of God so that we may grow in our knowledge. The bible is full of teachings that urge us to grow, to seek and to know the Lord intimately and deeply. There are no scriptures that tell us to be satisfied with what you know and just float in that. If you want to go deeper, then go deeper, cry out to Jesus and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Phillip asked only to know what he needed to get by. But God desires more for us. He desires for us to have all spiritual understanding, to have the deep knowledge of Him in our lives.
                He knows that you need things like food and clothing, shelter, a job, etc. He provides those things according to His grace and goodness and asks us to be content with what we have. But He does not want us to become content in our walks with Him. Paul writes in Philippians 3:13 that he has not apprehended, he has not fully come to the place he wants to be yet, so he keeps pressing on, he keeps pressing in, he keeps going until the day that the Lord says he is complete. He knows and understands the difference between contentment with things verses contentment in his walk with Christ.
                There should be a desire in us to know God more. There should be a desire in us to grow and not be satisfied with our current knowledge. There should be a desire in us to be close to God, and growing closer every day. Let it never be said of me that I have become content in regards to my relationship with Christ. For when I become content, I stop growing. My fruit becomes rotten and useless. I become a pew filler instead of a Jesus seeker. I become a stagnant pool instead of streams of living water. I become overgrown with weeds instead of overgrown with fruit.

              Going to church every single week doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than sitting in a garage makes you a car. We must desire more than contentment in our relationship with Jesus. Learning to be content in what we have, but not content in our knowledge of Him. There is more to this life than we can even comprehend, there is so much more that we can know and understand about the One who died for us. Yet, most of us are content to just do the requirements for salvation, rather than to seek and understand what salvation is. Most of us are content to just do the minimum instead of reaching for the maximum. Let it not be said of you, my brothers and sisters, that you have become content in your relationship with Jesus. God calls us to contentment in life, but not in our relationship with Him.

                May the God of all peace give you understanding today. May His word pierce your souls and light a fire in the hearts of all who hear. Let it not be said about us that we have become content in Him, but let the world see our desire to know Him and to seek Him until we attain to the glorious knowledge of the Father in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen and Amen.