"Jesus, help me get this job." "Jesus, make my enemies go away." "Jesus, make me prosper."
It's not that prayers like this are wrong. But sometimes they reveal a warped perspective of God. A perspective that says, "I need someone to give me what I want," rather than "I need someone to mold me into who I should become."
This last week, I started a young men’s Bible study in the book of Hebrews. This is one of my favorite books and Hebrews 1:1-4 is especially powerful. It says,
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
"He upholds the universe by the word of his power." This is who Jesus is. He is the logos, the perfect representation of God's character. He was the fulfillment of thousands of years of expectation and he is the fulfillment of our deepest needs today.
As Christians, this is what we say we believe. The only problem is we struggle to live this way and are tempted to treat Jesus more like a secretary than the creator and sustainer of this universe.
This last year, we lost one of my favorite Christian writers, Timothy Keller. And several years ago, I heard him share the story of a time he was sitting in class as a young student. At the time, he was struggling with some uncertainty in his life when his teacher stood at the front of his class and made this statement:
“the distance between the Earth and the sun—ninety-three million miles—was no more than the thickness of a sheet of paper, then the distance from the Earth to the nearest star would be a stack of papers seventy feet high; the diameter of the Milky Way would be a stack of paper over three hundred miles high. Keep in mind that there are more galaxies in the universe than we can number. There are more, it seems, than dust specks in the air or grains of sand on the seashores. Now, if Jesus Christ holds all this together with just a word of his power (Hebrews 1:3)—is he the kind of person you ask into your life to be your assistant?”
That last sentence got me.
When we treat Jesus like our little assistant, our prayers are weak and our view of God is small. But when we lean in and consider who he really is, everything changes.
If you're struggling with a small view of Jesus today, here are a few choices I'd recommend you make:
Jesus is God. Jesus is our Savior. Jesus is the perfect representation of God's glory. Jesus is our perfect model. Jesus is all we will ever need.
Jesus created this world. Jesus set aside his heavenly position and came to earth in the form of a baby. Jesus paid a penalty for sin that we could never pay. Jesus rose from the dead so we could rise and live with him. Jesus intercedes for us in prayer.
Jesus is all we need. With him, we have everything. Without him, we have nothing. In life, we're faced with a million distractions that seek to pull us from our connection to Jesus. Even good things like work, recreation, and family can shift our focus in the wrong direction when we don't order them out of a life that is built on the reality of Jesus.
The other week, my pastor made a wonderful point when he said, "Who we run to in times of stress reveals who we are bonded to."
Think about that statement. What stress do you face today? And what do you bond with in this stress? Do you turn to alcohol, food, your smartphone, TV, or something other than Jesus?
If so, it's time to make a switch.
Today, lean into the reality of who Jesus is. Meditate on Hebrews 1:1-4. And view him as someone who is infinitely greater than your personal assistant.
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