I once had a mission shirt that read “Jesus is Enough“. I was a teenager and this is back when the “WWJD” movement was running rampant. The focus was on our passion and zeal for Jesus. The push was to be satisfied in Jesus alone. It sounds so good, doesn’t it?
The problem with this is that, no matter how hard I’ve tried, Jesus has never been enough for me. If you understand your freedom to be honest about your condition, then you know that he’s never been enough for you, either. Since Genesis 3, communion with God Himself has not been enough for man. We will always be lured by “lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life” as long as we are in this world (1 John 2:16). That’s what it is to be in this body of death that we so desperately need rescuing from. We try so hard to just cut out the “idols” in our lives so that there is more room for Jesus to come and be enough, without realizing the issue is our idol manufacturing hearts. We “remove” one, usually by avoidance, and another pops right back up in it’s place. It’s like that game, “whack-a-mole”. Those damned things just keep popping up no matter how many we smack with our hammers of piety.
Despite our desperate efforts to control our hearts, we will continue to find everything under the sun in order to fill our satisfaction apart from God. No matter how badly we want Jesus to be enough for us, our hearts make idols out of every good gift it receives. When we hear, “You shall have no other gods before me” from the Law, sin comes alive and we die (see Romans 7:9). In our flesh, we flip God the metaphorical bird and we go out and love literally anything and everything else but Him. We do this naturally, even without giving it any thought. We do it because we are sinners, decedents of Adam. Even those of us who have been given a new nature in Christ, we do the things we don’t want to. (Romans 7) That’s horrifying news to us because we desperately want to believe that there is something we can do about it.
For if our sins could be removed by our own efforts, what need was there for the Son of God to be given for them? Since Christ was given for our sins, it stands to reason that they cannot be put away by our own efforts. -Martin Luther
The good news is that because Jesus would never be enough for us, He came to be everything in our place. “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17) Do you know what the will of God is? John says it in his epistle: “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (6:40) God the Father has always been enough for Jesus. He was tempted in every way that we are (eyes, flesh, pride of life) and he never failed. He never gave into the lure of idols. When Satan offered him the whole world, Jesus, without hesitation, flipped the Devil the metaphorical bird, turning him down flat. Then Jesus went to the cross and crushed Satan’s head, defeating sin and death on our behalf. He did this for us not as an example of how to defeat Satan ourselves. He did this because we would never live up to the demands of God’s perfect Law- and so he fulfilled it for us. He did this because we needed to be rescued. Jesus silenced the accusations of the Law forever and in doing so, He took a blow torch to our faulty idol controlling game of “Whack- a- mole”. The only hammer that has ever been necessary was the one that drove the nails into our Savior.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For GOD has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4
“Jesus is enough” isn’t the gospel. Jesus came to this world and became everything for you while you were his enemy, and continues to be everything in your place- yes, even when he isn’t enough for you. Look on the Son and believe in Him. THAT’s the good news of the gospel.