Complete In Him

Feb 8, 2013
Akron, Ohio
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I went to lunch with my husband Rick today. We went to Panera Bread. They had my favorite summer salad back and my favorite potato soup, and to top it off, I got as change my last quarter needed for my (50 U.S.) states collection. The cashier who waited on me said something about my day being made complete, or something like that. I have known her many years now.

I smiled back at her and said, "Even if I didn't have any of those things my day would still be complete because I have Jesus." She nodded and smiled in agreement.

A few hours later I was sitting in a dentist chair to get 2/3 of a bridge removed and to get a rotted and dead wisdom tooth extracted. Although dead, the tooth hung on for dear life. It did not give up without a fight, but eventually it yielded to the pressure applied to it and it came out. Nearly all throughout this procedure, which was still painful, The Lord had this song, or one very similar to it, playing through my mind:

I’d Rather Have Jesus / Rhea F. Miller

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;
I’d rather be true to His holy name

Now thinking back on it, I can't help but feel there is a spiritual lesson to be learned here, as well as I believe that my experience at the dentist’s office ties together with my experience at the restaurant.

I got everything I wanted at the restaurant and more, but I would rather have Jesus than to have all the pleasures this world can offer me. Also, if I did not have any of those things, my day still would have been complete because Jesus is my all sufficiency, what I have in him is eternal, and the things of this life are passing away. As well, sometimes we, like my tooth, hold on to what is dead and decaying in our lives, and so we have to go through pain and suffering, sometimes, in order to get us to let go of what is dead so that we can learn to be satisfied with Jesus and to truly desire him more than anything else.

I love how Jesus teaches me biblical truths through the ordinary things of life sometimes.

To the Word

Later on in the day I read 2 Timothy 3, which fit perfectly with what the Lord Jesus was teaching me through my real-life experiences. These are the verses that stood out to me:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people…

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV)

We are not to be partakers with those who make money/possessions, pleasure and self/selfishness their gods. This does not mean we cannot have possessions or that we are not to enjoy all good things God has provided for us. What it does mean, though, is that these things are not to be what we live for and strive for with all our energies and passions, and they should not be what complete and satisfy us, thinking that the more we have the happier we will be. If we are not just as happy without the things of this world, then our hearts are in the wrong place. Jesus should be our all sufficiency, and if he is all we have, we should be satisfied.

If he is not our sufficiency, and we are loving self, pleasure and the things of this life, making them our gods, then these things need to be uprooted out of our lives, like that rotted and dead tooth was uprooted out of my mouth in the dentist chair. The tooth did not come out willingly. It was deeply engrained in the bone around it, so it had to be cut out and then pulled out, i.e. it had to be surgically removed. I am still feeling the effects of that surgery today. And, that is true of our lives, as well. If we are holding on to the gods of this world and we won’t give them up, because we are deeply rooted in them, God may have to surgically remove them from our lives, i.e. through much pain and suffering.

Instead, our lives are to be given over to God, willing to suffer for Christ and the sake of the gospel. We should continue in the teaching of Jesus Christ and that of the apostles, i.e. in the true gospel of salvation. We should find our wisdom in the word of God, not in the teachings of humans. It was a “wisdom” tooth that had to be extracted because it was dead and rotted, i.e. representing not the wisdom of the Spirit, but the wisdom of the flesh. I can testify that, over the years, God has had to extract human wisdom out of my life many times over so that he could teach me his truths and his ways, so that I would walk in his truth and not in the ways of humans and in the ways of this world.

So, my prayer today is for all of us that we would be willing for God to show us any areas of our lives where self, pleasure, money, possessions and/or worldly wisdom has become our gods, and to see where they are deeply engrained in our hearts and lives, and to willingly allow the Spirit of God within us to remove those things out of our lives, as we cooperate fully with His work. And, then my prayer is that we would make Jesus our all sufficiency so that we would find our completeness and our satisfaction in him, and not in the things of this life. And, I pray that we would drink at his table instead of at the table of humans, and that we would learn from him what he has for us, so that truly we are complete in Him.
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May 10, 2014
Apple Valley Calif.
Jas 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
Jas 3:14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.
Jas 3:15 Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
Jas 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Jas 3:18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (NIV)
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Sep 2, 2013
1Co 3:18 ¶ Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
21 ¶ Therefore let no man glory in men.

Ro 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Ro 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.