I taught a Sunday morning children’s life group a couple weeks ago. This question was posed to the children: “Do you want Jesus?” The context for the question came out of Colossians 1:15-2:3 where Paul exhaled the supremacy of Jesus on parchment.
Of course, the Sunday school answer to the question is yes. I wanted to believe my answer was yes, too. But the question gnawed around the edges of my thoughts all week. Do I want Jesus? Yes, I kept assuring myself.
To help with my conflicted thoughts, I polled (quite unofficially) some friends to determine the difference was between needing and wanting Jesus. The consensus stated we need Jesus to save us. We need Him for life, breath and all things. We need Him to secure our right standing with God the Father.
But do I want Jesus? As I lingered on the question, I kept changing it to a statement and adding the word to. I want Jesus to ___________. After talking and texting with several people, I heard these “I want Jesus to” statements:
Take away the utter despondency my friend is experiencing after losing her granddaughter and daughter within 18 months of each other.
Return the prodigal home.
Change the cancer test to return negative.
Heal my baby of her medical issues.
Stop all the tragedies that are bombarding our family.
I had taught my kids to discern between a want and a need: “God will meet all your needs, but He won’t always respond to your wants.” Yet, when real life bears down, the lines blur between the need and the emotions of the want.
But can we agree there is a subtle change when we flip the question from “Do you want Jesus?” to the statement “I want Jesus to ______.”
The group agreed wanting Jesus comes in the daily grind of walking out our faith. He wants all of us whether it be in the mundane or defining moments of our day. He wants our fears, the hidden sins, and the areas we’re adamantly refusing to give up. He wants us to surrender all.
When our lives are in a season free from troubles, do we want Jesus? If in our surrendering to Jesus all was stripped away—our health, our finances, our loved ones—would Jesus be enough? If He didn’t answer my “I want Jesus to” requests, would I still want Him? Jesus. Just Jesus. The One who “holds all things together” (Col. 1:18).
There is a chink in my faith between the intellectual knowing I should want Him in everything and my daily giving Him everything. I know He holds together all things. I know the thing He holds together at times could be me. Still there is a part of me that wants to hold some things back.
It seems allowing Jesus authority over our whole lives is more obvious while in the pit and our only hope is Him than when life is comfortable and worries are few.
In the shipwrecks, beatings, and a stoning, and in the daily pouring out of his life as a drink offering, Paul gave Jesus first place in everything.
When we firmly believe Jesus holds first place in everything, we can confidently give Him our everything, every moment.
I yearn for that to be true. I believe I’m heading that direction. But, honestly, I’m not there yet.
What do you think this question means: Do you want Jesus?