What is it exactly that you want?
We have three needs, really. Not wants — we have a zillion of those.
Only three deeply visceral needs however. They are the need to belong, the need to contribute, and the need to experience. In other words, we all have an insatiable longing for relationship, accomplishment, and discovery. The wants only come out of those, and God has generously extended a near infinite number of ways to fulfill those.
All that stuff about our physical needs needing to be met first? Hogwash. If there is no possibility for the three real needs to be met, you won't give beans about, well, getting and eating beans, or anything else for that matter. Kind of interesting then, when you think about it, that Jesus said, in so many words, "Hey. You are so into having food. You worry about it all the time. You say 'Where am I going to get my next meal?' Why? In fact, listen up. I'm the real food. Want what really gives you what you need? Here it is — standing right in front of you."
This was such a highly radical concept that a whole bunch of His most devoted disciples took off when He said that — they must've been some of those who thought physical needs were most important. Now, physical needs are important. God made a physical universe. Scientific evidence is being gathered to indicate that God not only created the physical universe, but He created it specifically fine-tuned just for you. So, contrary to Rick Warren' first words in the wildly popular The Purpose-Driven Life, it is about you.
To Rick Warren's credit, however, he acknowledges that what happens is people mess with that world and behave selfishly (read: refuse to appreciate the God who made them and even gave His Son to redeem them). They think it's only about them, they try to get those three needs met outside of the purpose, will, and grace of God, and they get beaten up by their own obsessions. It is quite a difference between "I rejoice that God has loved me so," and "I try real hard to revel in me because I'm me." This latter affirmation always brings with it a desperate apprehension of abject futility.
What is just as troubling is that the very nicest kindest neatest Christian can be just as wicked as the most evil heathen, and they do all kinds of crazy things to belie their avowed devotion to God. This concept is not lost on the cynical secularist. In a particularly perverse way, the practicing Roman Catholic addresses the physical world by going off to literally eat Jesus, then in the next step he's off pushing away physical comforts to demonstrate what a pious person he is.
Ahem. What Jesus really wants is people who devour His words so voraciously that they can't help but know Him for who He is, trust Him in what He does, and then magnificently love another because of how much He loves us. We know how much that is because He not only fed us when we were hungry, but moved others to feed us because they loved us, again, because He loved them.
Love with His love? You'll feed another. Loved by His love? You'll get fed somehow. It's all good. But again, if there is no One there, no real Jesus who really made you, really loves you, and really loves to be with you, why bother with any of that?
There is a famous story about a beaming Christian man who was walking in the park. He was praising God for all the things he had been experiencing. The sun, the trees, the flowers, the crisp refreshing breeze. He briskly approached a disheveled man sitting on a park bench and exclaimed, "I'm so overjoyed by this world our good Lord has created. What a wonder! Say, sir, can you think of one thing better than being saved by the Lord?"
The man thought for a moment and said, "Yes, yes I can."
The Christian was astonished. "That's crazy. I can't imagine what could possibly be better than God sending His only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world!"
"Oh, yes, there is one thing better," he insisted.
"What could that thing be, pray tell?"
"The companionship of the One who saved me."
The Catholicist Nation is filled with people who know and live and play out all the formalities of "Christianity," but they haven't a clue what it means to be with Him. To walk with Him. To thank Him for even giving them a breath to live out the joys of life they do get to touch once in a while.
When you do that — when you walk with Him, not a Straw-Man Jesus — He wants to take the greatest pleasure in showing you the astounding beauty in His heavens and earth, and beholding the wonderful things you say and do from that delight. Is there a parent who has not heard the words "Daddy, Mommy look at me, watch this," any fewer than a thousand times? The fact is, we've never lost that desire for Daddy or Mommy to watch us, smile, and say, "That's terrific." It just doesn't count if it's someone else. It must be Him.
What is it you want? That's easy. Relationship, accomplishment, discovery. God made you this way. You want to belong to Someone who really loves you, you want to do the awesome things you were created to do, and you want to see, hear, experience all the stuff that happens — you want to get your hands and feet dirty getting in there and having life happen to you and never ever having it end.
All that is Jesus.
Ultimate emptiness comes with another Jesus. Those of you who rail against this? Come on, who's your Jesus? Go ahead and keep trying to find your enchantment in partying, work, the big game, Vegas, giving gifts to those you hope to impress, the Great Glorious Crusade, hooking up, shopping for that boffo outfit, waterskiing, church, that severe penance — go ahead, whatever it is. Keep doing that for as long as you want to keep flailing away, believing that you'll get that fleeting gratification, that the unfathomably wretched condition of your sin and woundedness will just go away sometime somehow someway.
Or you can come to the realization that it all comes down to one thing, really.
Do you have Jesus, or don't you?
Every single thing in life comes down to that single question. Every issue, every discussion, every debate, every consideration, every event, every commitment, everything. Any single thing said or done that is believed to be the final word or act will always have either a "Then what?" or a "Why?" attached to it, and the perceptive individual will come to terms with the impact of that epiphany — that when it is all actually said and done, you can only ultimately reach The Question: Do you have Him, or not?
If you don't have Him, you're toast, and you can look at it one of two ways. First, you can be a nihilist — the only genuinely honest individual without Him — and resign yourself to the harrowing meaninglessness of it all, sans Him. No relationship (with the One who really knows how to have evocative abiding interaction with you), no discovery (for extinction is the ultimate end anyway), no accomplishment (what difference does it make for anyone to do anything in this scenario). Many nihilists valiantly attempt to rationalize their predicament and convert to existentialism, but this doesn't change the always consuming horror of their reality. In this sense the existentialist is well on his way to the second approach to not-having-Him:
You can be a thoroughgoing Romanist and continue to work real hard to deceive yourself with great religious zeal. In your abject denial of the The Question's veracity, there is indeed the grand Catholicist Nation for you to inhabit, filled with people living by the letter of the law, ripped by their fears, "clubbing" from institution to institution, desperate to find someone who actually loves while slogging their way through the terror and scratching at sustaining a lifestyle of bright sunny pretense.
You may have Him, and if you have Him, then... here's what.
In this, a critical question may be asked:
"How then do I have Jesus?"
Besides looking at His own words to find out — really, that's the very best way (check out the "Citations" page for some direction) — the amazing thing is that Jesus loves you so much that you don't have to do anything. Anything except want to have Him. If you want to have the Son, just let Him know. He's God, He can hear you.
One final note: A thoughtful individual may ask, "What happens after you 'have' Jesus? Won't that be it? No more discovery of who He is, or what there is in life to anticipate?" The answer lies simply in the meaning of one of His names, "Alpha and Omega." If He is indeed the beginning, then every moment of interaction with Him is a glorious beginning, throughout eternity. I wouldn't worry. Because of that I'm certain you'll find He has so much more for us than we can ever know now. He loves us enough to make it that way.
To begin that kind of interaction, here is just an idea: Start reading here, in the book of John. Right there in chapter one is a fine place to start...
This page was originally posted by David Beck at yourownjesus.net on December 11, 2004