There, I said it. It’s out. Jesus isn’t enough. We hear it said often, we sing it, we say it to encourage one another: Jesus is enough. But is he really? And in fact, does he even think he is?
Don’t get me wrong, in so many ways Jesus is enough. He is enough for freedom from sin and death, enough for growing in holiness, enough to guarantee our future with him and so much more. But is he enough for everything?
‘Jesus is enough’ often comes up in sermons about marriage. “Here’s God’s amazing, beautiful plan for marriage. But don’t worry singles, even if you never get married, Jesus is enough.” At that point I want to ask the preacher why he got married. If Jesus is enough, why bother? If Jesus is enough, isn’t getting married just being greedy?
But when you think about it, we all know that Jesus isn’t enough. You could have Jesus, but without food you wouldn’t last long. You could have Jesus, but no water and you’d last even less time. Keep Jesus, but take away oxygen and you’ll last only a few minutes. God has created us with needs, needs that in His kindness he provides for.
And these needs aren’t just physical, they’re emotional and spiritual too. When God created the first human, everything was perfect, including the human’s relationship with God. But God knew that actually it wasn’t all good. There was a problem: the human was alone. God Himself was the first to realise that He isn’t enough for us. Just as He created us with a need for food and water and oxygen, so He created us with a need for community, a need for love.
Several years ago, a pastor told me that my struggles with loneliness showed God didn’t want me to be single. In a sense he’d understood that Jesus isn’t enough. But the problem was that I had a strong sense that God was calling me to remain single. Adding to that problem was the fact that I’m same-sex attracted, but I believe God has designed sex and romantic love for marriages between one man and one woman. If my loneliness meant God wasn’t calling me to singleness, there seemed to be a big problem.
But God’s taken me on a journey. He’s showed me that while my loneliness does mean He doesn’t want me to be alone, it doesn’t have to mean He wants me to get married. Society, and sadly often the Church, will suggest that our relational needs can only be met by romantic relationships and sex, but Jesus came to establish a new community who are characterised by love. A community who so clearly and powerfully express love to one another that others recognise them as His people (John 13:34-35). A community where relational needs can be met for both marrieds and singles. Now it’s up to us to live and love in such a way that we build that sort of community.
So is Jesus enough? No. Jesus isn’t enough – and he knows it. But Jesus has done enough to provide enough, if we’ll all do enough.
Andrew is speaking on this topic at the Connect conference on 18 – 20 November in London. This talk will later be online on the New Community Church website. Tickets are still available for the conference here.