“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Have you ever asked yourself the question, is God enough? I have. Many times. I know my heart well enough to know it is “prone to wander, prone to leave the God I love.” It is a liar. It deceives me and it is wicked. In my wayward heart I can think, God is enough, and at the same time cry out, “I don’t deserve this, life’s not fair, and why me Lord?”
Do you ever noticed that what people say they believe about God doesn’t always line up with how they respond to challenges in life? On Sunday mornings, with hands raised, we sing, “Christ is enough…I surrender all,” but is that really our heart’s cry in the midst of a life turned upside down by difficulty?
For example, do we remember we offered our life as a living sacrifice, “surrendering all,” when cancer is the diagnosis? When we lose a job and then our house? When friends betray us and children become prodigals? Do we embrace Christ as enough when we desperately want marriage but are single?
How do you know when Christ is not enough?
Even outside a season of difficulty our heart’s alliance can quickly shift from the Creator to his creation. We can know this by examining the deeds of our flesh (Galatians 5:17-21). These deeds are our responses to events in our life and evidenced by works: worry (Matthew 6:24-25), hurt (Psalm 34:18), a struggle to forgive (Colossians 3:13), anger (Ephesians 4:31), gossip (2 Corinthians 12:20 ), discontentment with life (Philippians 4:11), trials without joy (James 1:2), unfulfilled dreams (Isaiah 30:15 ), weariness (Hebrews 12:3), fear about the future or hopelessness (Psalm 39:7).
Good desires become lusts when you lose sight of your greatest need—CHRIST. The out-workings of a heart not satisfied with God reveals where your heart’s true alliance is. One way to recognize a heart that doesn’t find Christ to be enough is to ask, what do I love most? The answer to this question will tell you what controls you.
We are controlled by what we love most
If you love financial security and your finances dry up you will find out quickly how important this idol is. Does love for God control you even when God’s sovereign hand challenges your thinking in this area? Either God controls you and is satisfying or something/someone else does. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).
Or another common illustration, worry about what others think. This is a mind controlled by fear, not God. Fear says, I want others to think well of me therefore I’m controlled by what others think (people pleasing/fear of man). Let’s take that thought even farther. What if the Lord orchestrates or allows your reputation to be tarnished unjustly? Is Christ enough because you know God cares about your character (which is what you can control), not reputation?
See how this plays out? We may pray that we surrender all but do we really surrender ALL? Our comfort, jobs, ministry, health, reputation? Do we really hold loosely to everything we have and say like Job, “Shall we accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10) “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” (Job 13:15)
The truth that God is enough is where I want to live 24/7. But I don’t. To say this, to know this, that’s the easy part. To put it into practice is not a simple thing to do. When the day to day pressures come upon any of us we can easily slip back into old thinking patterns. We must press forward through moments and times when life consumes and feelings seem impossible to ignore.
Feelings don’t rule
Truth does. How can your heart sing that Christ IS enough no matter what is gained or lost in life? By knowing him and remembering truth. Remembering truth is renewing your mind all throughout the day. Mind renewal doesn’t happen automatically. We need to put to death wrong thinking (Colossians 3:5) and be renewed through his Word (Romans 12:2). Daily victory is won with each small, miniscule step forward as you push through feelings and choose to trust and find satisfaction in him alone.
Our satisfaction has to be in God
Nothing in this world will satisfy (Ecclesiastes 2:17)
When I am in debt and don’t know how I'll pay my bills, is God enough?
When my marriage is not what I want it to be, is God enough?
When I lose my husband to cancer, is God enough?
When I need to forgive what seems unforgivable, is God enough?
When my spouse uses words to hurt me, is God enough?
When someone will not forgive me, is God enough?
When my friend betrays me, is God enough?
When a parent’s health is declining, is God enough?
When my marriage is over, is God enough?
When a boyfriend breaks up with me and I don’t know why, is God enough?
When my child dies, is God enough?
When my church disappoints me, is God enough?
When I remain single and all my friends are getting married, is God enough?
When they find I have cancer, is God enough?
When my child is living a destructive life, is God enough?
When my spouse tells me they don’t love me anymore, is God enough?
God never guarantees us a happy stress-free life. He certainly doesn’t promise we won’t have troubles in this life (John 16:33). Don’t believe the lie that you need more. Don’t give in to fleshly fears. Don’t let Satan tempt you to doubt God’s Word. Satan WILL whisper, “God is not enough. You need more, you won’t be satisfied with just him….” That is a lie! Don’t buy into it. Taste and see that the Lord is good! He is enough (Psalm 34).
Whether you have plenty or nothing, or when circumstances become more than you think you can handle, Christ is enough. You can lose everything and be okay because no one can take away Christ. When those times come, and they will, fight to remember truth. Thank him for the trial, for the loss, for never leaving or forsaking you. Cry out to him in your pain. He knows and sees all. But always stand firm on truth and remember…
“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
He is sufficient for you and for me
About the author
Karen McMahon is passionate about helping others apply biblical truth to every situation in life. She is the Director of Discipleship Counseling at First Evangelical Free Church in Maplewood, Minnesota, serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Alliance, and is a certified biblical counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). She has a MA in Theology Studies from the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, Minnesota and a MA in Biblical Counseling from Faith Bible Seminary-Lafayette, Indiana.