Every so often I reach a point where I feel the need to re-evaluate why I’m following Jesus. It’s not that I’m giving up on Christianity or faith, but rather that I find a desire to dig deeper into it instead of settling for the superficiality in which I can sometimes unexpectedly find myself. I think about why I became a follower of Christ in the first place- Was it because I wanted to feel like a moral, “good” person? Because I want somewhere to go on Sunday mornings? Because I’m scared of death? And then I think back to that fall day when I realized that Jesus was who He said He was. It wasn’t an experience I was expecting, much less intentionally seeking. In fact, it was a lot like a line from my favorite hymn, Come Thou Fount: “Jesus sought me when a stranger….”
As Jesus Himself puts it, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). I mention this verse not to minimize our role in having faith, but to emphasize the fact that Jesus is the author and initiator of our salvation, and we love Him only because He first loved and pursued us.
“From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.
‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”
I’m reminded once again that it has only ever been in Christ that I’ve felt fully satisfied and at rest, all of the voids in my heart miraculously and gloriously filled. It’s never been in a fleeting moment of euphoria or glimpse of peace that I’ve gotten from something temporary, like graduating from college or earning money or going on a great vacation. My heart is so forgetful, and time and time again I have to be reminded that it is Jesus alone who has the words of life. Not only that, but He is life, and life more abundant (John 10:10). It is in Him that we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). It’s not in our jobs or our relationships or our entertainment, no matter how good and enjoyable those things may be. As C.S. Lewis brilliantly puts it, all of the good gifts in our lives are just rays from the sun that should cause us to look up the sunbeam to the sun, which is God Himself.
I have to be reminded of this truth whenever I am tempted to think that full life is found in our earthly gifts, instead of realizing that the gifts are simply a way for God to reveal Himself to us as our ultimate and greatest good.