Do you have a favorite t-shirt?
One of my all-time favorites was one I bought the summer God began to turn my world upside down and move me out of the band room into the pastor’s study.
The shirt was a plain gray shirt with two words on the front and two on the back.
It came from a song we sang that week at camp. It was written by the worship leader for the week, Tom Duckett. I’ve looked all over for the recording but cannot find it. The lyrics were so beautifully simple that I remember them still.
Only Jesus paid the price for me
Only His love could set me free
Nobody else could open heaven’s door
Just Jesus and nothing more
I’ve been reminded of this as we spent so much time in Philippians 3 this weekend and we heard Paul saying that knowing Jesus was the thing that mattered. In fact, he testified that all of the rest of his accomplishments and experiences and hopes and dreams and aspirations were like a pile of garbage (or worse) in comparison.
It seems that, if you asked him what in all the world he wanted, Paul’s answer would have been, “Just Jesus, nothing more.”
I am finding more and more that, when I passionately press in to know Jesus, He seems to do things in me and through me that I cannot do. He teaches others things I cannot teach. He loves others in ways I cannot love. He speaks words of comfort and peace and hope that I cannot speak.
And when I look at what He commanded, I see that the essence of it all was to love Him with all that I am and to love others like I’m inclined to love myself. But I wrestle with the question: how can I be focused on Him and loving to others at the same time?
I think maybe I’m starting to get it. When I am so heart-soul-mind-strength focused on Jesus, He goes around loving others and I come along. He goes to my neighbor and serves Him and I come along. He does the things I cannot do and directs the steps I don’t know how to take and speaks the words that I have no way to express.
And what do I get?
I get what I most desperately need and most desperately long for and most desperately hope for…
Because when we get Jesus, everything else melts away in insignificance.
I’m convinced that the work He wants to do in transforming my life is not about me. It’s for you. He wants to transform me to serve you. And He wants to transform you to serve another.
And in it all we get the key to everything – Jesus Himself.
I have come to understand that genuine love does what is best for the one loved. John told us that God so loved the world that He gave us what we most needed—Himself.
What do you need? Really?