There’s an old hymn that says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” This hymn is so beautiful and powerful because it talks about focusing on Jesus instead of the things of this world and the things we go through in this world. I’m noticing more and more lately that people have made serving Jesus about everything else except Jesus. We’ve turned our eyes to everything else in this world other than Him. We are in a time where everyone is trying to “be the best you,” live their best life now, and obtain all that they can obtain through Jesus, but have forgotten that the true blessing is Jesus Himself and not the things that He can give us or do for us. We’ve confused the things that He can give to us as the blessing instead of seeing Him as the true blessing. We’ve forgotten that the greatest gift He could ever give us is Himself.
When you don’t understand the true value and purpose of something, it’s much easier to not appreciate it or to misuse it. I believe many people seek things and tangible blessings more than they seek God because they have forgotten (or don’t know) Jesus’ true value and purpose, they have forgotten why Jesus came. We’re in a time where people desire things more than Christ, idolatry is rampant in the church, and we have prayer gatherings full of vain prayers, all because we have stopped seeking God’s face and instead have begun to seek His hand. We don’t seek Him to get to know Him and be filled with His Spirit, we seek Him for stuff. We have forgotten that Jesus is the blessing; HE makes us blessed, not the stuff that we want from Him. We have forgotten that He became a curse for us by hanging on a tree (Galatians 3:13) so that we could have life and life everlasting. Without Him, we would be damned to hell for all eternity. Without Him, we wouldn’t have joy, peace, or love. There is so much wrapped up in the gift of Jesus. His value goes far beyond the husband, wife, house, cars, careers, businesses, and money, etc. – those are just temporary add-ons. Many people have those things without Christ and are still very miserable (angry, depressed, suicidal, full of hate, bound to addiction, etc). The church has shifted to thinking that having these things is what makes us blessed and not having them means that you are lacking. But if that were truly the case, then people in the world who hate God and who have all these things would be considered blessed. But how can you be blessed without receiving The Blessing, Jesus? We have to shift our focus back to knowing that having Jesus is what makes us blessed.
When I first got saved, I was very broken and empty. I didn’t need the tangible things that God could give me, I needed JESUS, I needed a Savior! My SOUL needed saving – not my bank account, not my relationship status or social status, not my career goals – my soul. A man could not heal or save me, a great education or job could not heal or save me, a title in the church could not heal or save me. There is nothing wrong with having those things and God could have added all those things to my life but if I hadn’t opened up my heart and received JESUS and allowed Him to do His work in me, I would have had all those things and still not be blessed because I never received the True Blessing. Within the gift of Jesus was salvation for my soul, within Him was power to defeat the sin that had me bound, within Him was true joy and peace that surpassed my circumstances. Had I come to Christ simply for the natural/tangible things He could do in my life, I would continue to feel empty. Jesus is the living well that quenched my spiritual thirst. Even if He added those tangible things to my life at that time, those things could never have quenched my thirst, those things could never satisfy me. So many people come to Christ and immediately want Him to bless them with something. Some people come to Christ and expect Him to bless them with a spouse because they’ve been on good behavior (i.e. sexually pure). They think that a spouse and earthly things are the reward when really Jesus is the reward. When you first come to Christ, He wants more than anything to give you Himself. If you’ve been walking with the Lord for some time and still feel empty, maybe the “Jesus” you received was the Jesus of your heart’s desires and not the Jesus of the Bible or maybe at some point, your focus has shifted and you need to redirect it back on Jesus.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about a heart issue first and foremost. Most of the problems in our lives and in the world are due to the wickedness of man’s heart. The Gospel is not about money, material possessions, finding your purpose, or God helping you to fulfill your dreams, etc. The Gospel is about Jesus coming down to save mankind from the wickedness of our hearts by replacing our wicked heart with His. That is our problem and that is why Jesus came – to save the world from sin. Many of you think that the answer to all your problems is God giving you some tangible “blessing.” You’ve been seeking God about it time and time again and waiting for Him to give you this “blessing.” But God is waiting for you to receive HIM, He’s waiting for you to give Him your life. He knows that if He adds that thing to you now, you will still come up empty because you haven’t allowed Him to fill you. You have a form and fashion of godliness – you attend church, you serve, you quote scripture, etc. but you’re serving God for all the wrong things. You’re not really serving Jesus for Him to transform you, you’re serving Him because you want your life to look better and you want the consequences of your sins to disappear. You haven’t really accepted or encountered Jesus Himself. Many people claim to have received Jesus, but the “Jesus” that they have received is the Jesus that blesses them with all their heart’s desire and makes them look “blessed” or appear that they are living the “blessed life.” Ask yourself what is your true motive for living for God? Are you serving God because you saw that He blessed someone with a husband (or something else you really want) so you’re expecting Him to do the same for you? Are you serving God so He can make you a big-time minister and you can show off how powerful you are in God? Are you serving God so that He can make you a wealthy entrepreneur? Is your personal bible study, devotional, and prayer time all about what God is going to do for you? We can come to God with ulterior motives and not even know it. We can even come to God initially with pure motives but then eventually shift to ulterior motives. When you have ulterior motives for living for Jesus, you will buck against Him when He begins (or tries to) strip away your old nature. I believe this is why so many people are saved but not delivered. They submit to God up until the point that they are comfortable, or they submit to Him until they see that He won’t give them what they want. They never wanted Jesus to begin with.
Think of a few things that you really desire from the Lord, if He told you today that those things were not in His will for you, would you still serve Him? Regardless of all those things, you won’t have, is Jesus alone enough for you? Is He sufficient? Do you consider Him to be the blessing or all those other things that you want Him to give you? Is your source of life, peace, and strength found in Jesus or in those things? John 1:4 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light to men.” Jesus is our source of true life, life that nothing in this world could ever give us. And this Source of Life lights our path. He gives us clarity and meaning in life, He gives us purpose and identity, He fills us with His light and causes us to be the light in a dark and dying world. Anything else that we try to find life in will only leave us empty and wanting for more, it will only cause us to kill people trying to fulfill our selfish desires. Even the things that we desire with pure intentions can never satisfy like Jesus.
John chapter 6 is a great example of seeking God for things vs. seeking Him because you know that He is life. In John 6:58 Jesus says, “This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus was referring to Himself as “the bread which came down from heaven.” In the Old Testament God sent down manna (food) from heaven for the Israelites to eat when they were in the wilderness. They ate this temporary food and still died, even though it came directly from God. See, God can add many things to your life, He can give you all the tangible things that your heart desires, but those things will never fulfill or truly satisfy you, those things will never lead to life and they are so temporary. The point that Jesus was making in this verse is that He was the “bread” that they had been seeking for. In Him was the fulfillment that they had been longing for. Earlier in this same chapter (vs. 24), it says that the people came “seeking Jesus.” But later in that chapter, Jesus exposes their true intentions and said that they weren’t really seeking Him, but the bread (things) that He could give them (vs. 26-27). We can appear to be seeking Jesus, but He knows why we are really seeking Him. And although He could easily give us the things we seek, He wants us to seek Him above all. Later on, in the chapter (vs. 51–68) when Jesus told the people to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood (meaning partake of Him), they were offended, they said it was a hard thing, and they walked with Him no more. Many people are cool with the idea of Jesus or walking with Him until He tells them to do the “hard things.” We’re cool with Jesus until He tells us to partake of Him by first denying ourselves. But the Bible says that these were the same people that were “seeking Him.” If they were really seeking Him, why did they walk away from Him when He was trying to give them Himself; when He was trying to lead them to everlasting life? They thought the earthly bread was the blessing, they didn’t know that Jesus Himself was actually the blessing. They were seeking His hand, but not His face, they wanted everything He could give them except Himself.
Unfortunately, so many people have adopted this type of Christianity but don’t even know it. They love Jesus up until the point that He wants to give them HIM. But to have Him they must lay down their own life. Jesus cannot and will not dwell in an already filled temple. We must decrease so that He can increase in us (John 3:30). When Jesus starts telling you that certain things in your life have to die in order for you to make room for Him, will you be like the ones that walked away and said, “this is a hard thing?” No one ever had a sincere relationship with Jesus without giving up themselves. The more we lay our life down for Jesus, the more room we have in us to receive more of Him, our capacity to receive the gift and blessing of Jesus increases. Many of us know that Jesus is the only thing that will ever truly satisfy, but we are not willing to let go of our will so we can receive Him. Many are not willing to surrender all to have all that is in Him. Jesus wants to fill you with Himself, but you can’t fill up a cup that is already filled with something else. You first have to empty that cup, clean it out, then fill it with the new thing. If you really want to be filled with Jesus, if you really want to be blessed WITH HIM, allow Him to empty you, clean you up, and fill you up with Himself. The process is painful at times, but it is so beautiful and so worth it. If we look further in John 6, after the people turned away from Him, at verse 67 Jesus looks at His twelve disciples and asks them, “Do you also want to go away?” But Peter responds to Him (vs. 68-69), “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Let’s be like Peter, even though we know we have to do the “hard thing” of eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood, let’s be willing to say, “in you are the words of eternal life.” God wants people who KNOW that Jesus is life and apart from Him there is no life. He wants people that seek Him beyond the earthly “bread” that He can give them, He wants people that seek for eternal life which can only be found in Him.
If we truly believe and know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, we would seek HIM with all of our hearts and do whatever He required of us, we would not be caught up in the cares and affairs of this life, and we would not use Jesus to meet our wish list. True seekers of Jesus know and believe that “in Him we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17: 28) they know that there is nothing in this world that God could ever give to us or do for us that is greater than the gift of Himself; they know that He is the true blessing and they are blessed only when they receive Him. When you know that Jesus is the blessing, you won’t be quick to sell Him out for worldly things. So, what are you seeking Jesus for? Are you seeking Him because you know He can give you many earthly things? Or are you seeking Him because you know that in Him is life? What we sometimes fail to realize is that JESUS IS THE WELL THAT NEVER RUNS DRY. You can never get tired of Him and it would take literally all of eternity to be filled with the fullness of God. There are always new aspects of Him to discover and explore in each season. Those that seek His face with all sincerity know that they can’t have real life without being filled with more and more of Him continually – we never get tired of seeking The Lover of our soul, He alone satisfies like no other. Psalm 16:11 says, “in His presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Everything we need is in Him, fullness of joy and the greatest pleasure can only be found in Him.
Don’t chase after tangible blessings and forget that you’re already blessed because you are connected to the greatest Blessing of all. I believe that in this time God is looking for true worshippers, those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Those who will press past the carnal pressures and temptations of this world to draw close to the King of kings. I believe that as we worship Him (live for Him) sincerely, that in due time He will add to us everything we need. But even as He adds things to us, He doesn’t want us to lose focus of Him. And when we believe that He is the true blessing, then even when we got the job, school admission, position, business, spouse, ministry, house, family, etc., we would be eager to offer Him to the unsaved people around us because we would understand that what they have cannot give them life. When you’ve come in contact with the True Blessing, you’ll want to share Him with everyone that doesn’t know Him.
If you’re reading this blog post and realize that you’re seeking Jesus for all the wrong things and your idea of what it means to be blessed is carnal, I encourage you to repent and ask God to teach you what Jesus really came for and what Christianity is really about. If you’re sitting under a church that preaches more about what Jesus can bless you with rather than Jesus Himself and allowing Him to transform you so you can impact the world, I encourage you to pray about a new church. If you eat from a contaminated table, your spirit and what comes out of you will also be contaminated. I also encourage you to read all of John 6, there are many gems in that chapter. And as you read it, do a self-evaluation and measure your life according to God’s word. God is always calling us higher. He wants children who love Him with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength, children who know that they need Him more than anything. Let’s get back to seeking the heart of the Master, when we behold the beauty of His face, we will never turn back to the things of this world.
“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’
My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek’.”
– Psalm 27:8