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One Thing Is Necessary

Isn’t that just one of the best lines ever? If my life was simplified to just one thing rather than the countless other things that demand my attention, what a blissful life that would be. I don’t know about you, but I crave a simple, quiet life with plenty of moments to ‘just be’. I believe we were created to have those moments to ‘just be’ with God. How can we just be with Him? Here are some of my reflections…

Trust in Jesus and His plans

From the very beginning, God created people to enjoy Him and give Him the glory. God delights in us. Yet, people have turned away from God and chosen their own way. But this is not a new development. It’s been like this since the very first people walked the earth. Sin entered our world through Adam disobeying what God had asked him and Eve not to do – eating fruit from one tree in a garden that would have had absolutely everything they could have needed. God was there with them there and they enjoyed the closest possible fellowship with Him. Yet, they chose to listen to another voice, the voice of Satan, that seemed to offer them what they wanted to hear. It was an outright lie trying to dress up as truth. Satan said, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

What are the consequences of this? God told them ahead of time, that if they ate from it they would die. Now I’m all for clear instructions. That seemed pretty clear. But rather than think that if I were Adam and Eve, I would have listened to this clear instruction, I know even today, how I tend to stray in my heart away from God. Since the very first sin that entered the human race, every single one of us are tempted by all manner of things other than God’s best. We are literally ‘dead in sin’ (Ephesians 2:1) without Jesus. There is nothing we can do about sin, apart from Jesus.

God did not kill Adam and Eve on the spot for their disobedience. He lovingly provided the garments to clothe them when they were aware of their nakedness and shame. The consequences of disobedience were followed through, and humans became alienated from God and would eventually die. Still, God had a plan to restore them and bring them back to Him. He promised that He would deal with the enemy of God and that there would be one to come, born of a woman who would be the one to do it. God said to Satan, in Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This is a prophecy of Jesus’ ultimate defeat of Satan and the plan of salvation of mankind. It’s right there at the beginning of the Bible, not just announced when Jesus hits the scenes in a manger (as exciting as this is, especially when you know Genesis 3:15!).

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Trust in Jesus on the cross

Jesus, the Son of the Father, entered our world and was made like us. He took on flesh and walked the earth in all of its suffering, pain and brokenness. He came to save sinners like you and me and to restore the severed relationship between mankind and God. Sin separates us from God because God is holy and we are not. Yet Jesus, being fully God and fully man, was able to take our sin upon Himself willingly, although He had lived a sinless life. He did this because God is both equally just and merciful in dealing with sin. The payment of sin is death, but Jesus paid it all for us. He died in our place for every sin we have ever committed or will ever commit. Payment was made on the cross. He redeemed us by His blood.

There is no other way to be made right with God, other than through Jesus. It is an invitation to all people to trust in His sacrifice. His love for sinners is displayed on the cross. He is not some far-removed deity, but was the promised Seed, that came into our dark world, bringing His light, His hope, His promises. Not empty promises but victorious triumphs over sin and death. One day Jesus will return to bring an end to all of sin and evil we see around us. Why doesn’t He come back now? Haven’t we seen enough suffering? My friends, have you trusted in Jesus yet? Maybe He is delaying for your sake. Turn to Him while it is still today for ‘The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9).

The one thing necessary is to look to Jesus, trust in Him and be saved. When we trust in Jesus, we can trust that His work on the cross has saved us to the uttermost. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. He has done it all. Our response is to put our faith in Him and trust in Him, knowing that what He promised all those years ago in Genesis 3 and all He accomplished on the cross some 2000 years ago, still stands true.

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Trust in Jesus by sitting at His feet

With all of the busyness, distraction, destruction, frustration, and suffering around us, it can leave us feeling hopeless and discouraged. Yet God is the God of comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Once again, Jesus gives a heads up that we will have trouble in this world. We don’t really need Him to tell us that as we see and hear it all around us. But, it is a huge comfort entrusting ourselves into the care of One who knows the end from the beginning. He does not leave us there either. He ends with a call to take heart, to take courage, to be of good cheer. He has overcome the world. This is the greatest news of all.

At the cross, the worst the world can do to our bodies is death and even that has been overcome by Jesus. He did not stay hung on that cross. He did not stay buried in a tomb. The power of God raised Him up and the power of sin and death was broken. We still live in this world where sin and death seem to abound. But time is running out for that foe mentioned earlier, Satan. Things will actually get a whole lot worse in our world if you can believe it (guess who tells us that ahead of time?). There are real evil forces at work. But unlike a battle between good and evil wondering who will win, the good has already won the victory. Life is not perfect. But Jesus is. He has a perfect plan and gives eternal life to all who look to the one thing that is necessary. Jesus Himself. When we look to Jesus we can know God (John 14:9).

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The story of two sisters, Martha and Mary, and their responses to when Jesus came to their house, is one I always come back to.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

I am a natural Martha, running around, easily distracted, trying my best to serve others, whilst getting frustrated about not having help or not being able to ‘just be’. Rather than give Martha a hard time though, I love that Jesus takes time to address her, acknowledging her anxieties and troubles, yet pointing her to ‘one thing is necessary‘. It’s not that Martha was wrong in her hospitality or serving (those are great things), but it was an opportunity to stop being anxious with the ‘many things’, and choose the ‘one thing’, the ‘good portion’, by sitting and listening to Jesus.

Once we live our lives with the ‘one thing’ that is most necessary in front of us, the many things that trouble us may still be there, but put in their rightful place. To be still and know that Jesus is Lord means we can trust Him in our frantic, anxious world. He is the one thing necessary for today and always. What does sitting at Jesus’ feet look like? Of course, I will say read the Bible and pray. 100%. But I will also confess how quickly I busy myself with all the ‘many things’ which in turn fill me with anxieties. I need to be with Jesus and intentionally go somewhere quiet, wherever that may be at whatever time of day that is. Knowing that He has given Himself for me, that He loves me, that I can trust His plan in all things and that He will return, gives me the eternal perspective I need for the many worries of today.