The marketing of my youth was all about more for your money. “Biggie size” was a common promotion at McDonald’s. Get more for less was in every store front and on every commercial. We even have stores dedicated to buying in bulk- if you buy this case of 20 bags of potato chips, you only pay $0.99 per bag. We see it in movie theaters- for just a dollar more, you can buy the 72oz coke with free refills. Then you had the answer to that several years later as the minimalists begin to come to the forefront of marketing. Less is more. Cut things down to the bare bones. Pair down your stuff. The diet industry took advantage of this movement as well (especially from all the biggie sizing we did). When I think of this movement, I think about all the cooking shows on Food Network where these expensive restaurants serve up entree courses with basically a bit of food on the plate, but hey, it’s pretty to look at and you will definitely control your caloric intake.
In all of this effort to get more value or to cut things out, I wonder if we have lost our concept of what is enough. Enough is such a wonderful idea. Speaking of weight loss, I’ve been on my own journey since Christmas with Noom. It is the first program that has really worked for me because it treats my problem, instead of the symptoms. My problem- eating is more of a psychological issue than physical for me. I stress eat, I eat out of boredom, and I eat beyond what is enough. One of the biggest things it has helped me with is learning when enough is enough. No food is off limits, no restaurant or food style is forbidden. Noom has re-taught me how to eat and a big component of that is learning when enough is enough. I find myself examining this in all areas of my life. I’m not saying that buying in bulk isn’t a good idea, it is depending on your needs and what is enough for you. It is nice to get a bag of chips at 99 cents each, but I don’t need 20 bags. $20 for 20 bags or $1.50 for one bag- it really is a no brainer when you understand what is enough for you. Likewise, minimalism isn’t always sustainable. Like the more for less, you have to know what is enough for you and it is not a one size fits all.
If you are this far into the article, bless you and thank you for sticking around. You know that my articles are typically about my faith and what is on my mind in terms of my faith, so you may be wondering why I am talking about food, minimalists, and weight loss plans. So, here is my point- Is Jesus enough for us? He should be, yet I think many of us find ourselves struggling with wanting or thinking that there should be more. It is something I think we all fall into and that we all need to address in our lives, but we are by no means alone in this- it happens to us all, probably more than we want to admit. I think its easy to forget that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This is enough, it really is. Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us:
For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.Ephesians 2:8-10
This means that it is only God at work. It is not God plus a ritual, not God plus money, not God plus anything on our part- simply grace given by God. I will just say it. That is a hard concept. If we understand our true nature as sinners, the thought stays in the back of our mind that it can’t really be that simple. Surely, I have to jump through hoops after salvation in order to get into heaven. Nope, grace- its enough. In fact, it is the only thing. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul pleads with the Lord to remove the thorn in his side. Whether this is a recurring sin problem, physical ailment, or some other obstacle we don’t know. But, even the apostle Paul struggled with Jesus being enough. In verses 8-9 he says,
Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.2 Corinthians 12:8-9
Paul wanted Jesus plus. He wanted the grace of God through Jesus AND…… The response that Paul got from the Lord says it all. “My grace is sufficient for you…” How many times do we want Jesus AND…? How many times do we ask for Jesus AND….? In his book, The Pastor’s Justification, Jared Wilson writes this:
But Jesus plus anything is not Jesus. Our people need the unadjusted, unadulterated gospel. They need it straight up, not mixed in some fruity moralism/grace cocktail.Jared Wilson, The Pastor’s Justification
Just like Jesus is enough in terms of what we need, Jesus needs to be enough in what we seek. Every pastor should have the same goal when preaching in my opinion. We should preach scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, in Christ alone, to God be the glory alone. That’s it- nothing else. When our messages deviate from that, we stand to muddy the waters with our sin natured opinions. My students should not come to hear from me. My students should come each Wednesday to hear from their creator; and this old man is simply the conduit through which He speaks. If you have a pastor who preaches this, who delivers messages each and every week directly from the word of God, you have something worth holding on to and worth buying in to. You can be confident that you are not buying into a person’s ideals, but the truth of scripture. We don’t need a gospel plus desire, we need gospel alone desire. When we are truly convinced that the Jesus is enough, we engage in growth based on Jesus being enough. When we engage in active discipleship to grow in Jesus, any all pluses that we have fall into place. I think one of the very best things we can do for our spiritual lives is to acknowledge that grace…the gospel….Jesus is enough.
In Christ Alone
Rev. Bro. Coach