whc weekly word – 3/11/21

The Pepsi Challenge Between You and Jesus

“You are enough. Today, as you are. And next year if you keep reaching for who God made you to be, you’ll be even more. Stop beating yourself up for being on the beginning side of ‘yet’. Yet is your potential. Yet is a promise. Yet is what keeps you moving forward. Yet is a gift and you are enough to get to the other side of it.”

That quote is from Rachel Hollis, the author of New York Times bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. Her book claims that it debunks 20 common lies and misconceptions and will, “convince you to do whatever it takes to get real and become the joyous, confident woman you were meant to be.” 

This is one of many books in the self-help genre that currently infests Christian literature. The idea behind most of these books is, “You are totally sufficient; you just need this book to tell you how sufficient you are.” It’s a lie nested in another lie. Such books often validate their status as "Christian" by providing a few Bible verses in the footnotes or endnotes. But the wisdom within them tends to resemble the words of the serpent rather than the Savior. If you want to learn more about Girl, Wash Your Face, I encourage you to read Alisa Childers’ excellent review of the book here: https://www.alisachilders.com/blog/girl-wash-your-face-what-rachel-hollis-gets-rightand-wrong.

The claim that you are enough is completely at odds with the Bible. This is especially clear in Ephesians. Rather than declaring we are inherently sufficient for life, Paul says that we are “dead in sins and transgressions” (2:1). And yet, because of God’s grace, we only have life through Jesus Christ (2:2-10). The Bible teaches that we are inherently deficient; but God, graciously, makes Christ sufficient for all our needs.

That means that when we are overwhelmed by life, we have no right to take solace in our ability to overcome. When I am attacked, deceived, or put-down, I can't look inside myself for defense, clarity, or encouragement. There is a sinful, finite, easily-deceived heart inside me. Instead, I need to turn to God in prayerful dependence and meditate on the truths in his word.

One of the best places to turn when you feel weak is Ephesians 1:3-18. It captures the sufficiency of God by describing 8 blessings God bestows on us.

1. He “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing…in Christ”. (1:3)

2. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” to be “holy and blameless”. (1:4)

3. He predestined us for “adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself” (1:5), 

4. “His grace, which He graciously bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (1:6)

5. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our transgressions” (1:7)

6. “His grace which He caused to abound to us in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will.” (1:8)

7. “In Him, we also have been made an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, to the end that we who first have hoped in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. (1:12)

8. “In Him, you also, after listening to the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (1:13-14, LSB)

Each of these blessings includes a phrase like “in Him”, “in the Beloved”, or “in Christ”. This means that we were brought by God into a permanent bond with Jesus, through which every blessing flows to us. Those blessings are more than sufficient to bring us the joy, purpose, and security that we all desperately need. In the same ways God provided for Jesus on earth, he will provide for you.

God empowers us not only to endure but to thrive amidst life's struggles through our Spirit-sealed, God-ordained bond to Jesus Christ. Every moment of difficulty is just a reminder of our weakness and his power. When we lay down our pride and start depending on God to bless us in Christ, we become more than conquerors through him who loved us. Don't settle for any substitute for the spiritual blessings that come to us through Christ. Rest your thoughts on the truth that God will always be enough for you.

Pastor David