For all posts thus far in the Pilgrimage Tour series, click here.
Jesus isn’t all you need.
This may go against everything you’ve ever heard about God. But hear me out.
What do we mean when we say, “All I need is Jesus”? If it is something like, “I don’t need anyone else in my life to be who I need to be… All I need is God,” then I’m afraid that this simply isn’t true.
I found this out in a very real way as I began to hike.
It was the fifth day of the Pilgrimage Tour and we were starting to feel the burn. The hike on the day before had worn us out, but we were getting ready to do it all over again.
We arrived at the trail, called “The Narrows” at Zion National Park, and set off on our trek. It involved literally hiking through a river. The water resistance made it hard to wade through with ease. There were rocks at the bottom of the river. And I was wearing chackos (which I hate). Rocks got stuck in them every 5 minutes. I was pretty miserable.
I remember, I said to myself, “I’m not gonna be that guy to quit hiking, but… if someone else decides that they can’t do it, I’ll be right there behind them.”
In other words, my only motivation for hiking at first was because I was with others that I didn’t want to deter—I didn’t want to let them down.
However, as the day went on, I started to see the beauty in this hike. It was absolutely breathtaking. We were surrounded by these huge mountain formations and hiking through the river that formed these canyons over immense amounts of time. I was awestruck by how incredible it was.
We ended up finishing the hike, and I was so glad that I had finished it. Not that it wasn’t tough, but it was worth it. What first started out as a chore ended up being a pleasure. All because my friends were there to support me.
There was no way in hell that I would have done that hike by myself.
As beautiful as it was, as majestic as it might have been, I still wouldn’t have been able to convince myself to make that crazy hike.
That’s when I realized, though, that all of life is that way.
There’s no way that we can do life by ourselves. Having people in your life isn’t just “nice”—it’s necessary. Especially for the Christian. That’s what it means to be the Church.
When I say, “Jesus isn’t all you need,” it usually elicits a strong reaction. “Of course he is! I don’t need anyone or anything else other than him!” Other than the silly and obvious fact that we need things like air to breathe, food to eat, and water to drink, there are other ways in which this simply isn’t a faithful thing to say.
One example is at the very beginning of humanity’s story in the Bible.
God created the cosmos, the earth, the land, the sea, the plants, the animals, and everything in all creation. Then, when he created a human being, he didn’t say, “Now, my creation is complete! You need nothing more, because you have me and I am enough!”
No. Rather, he said, “It is not good for this human being to be alone.”
So, what did he do? He created another human being.
Because human beings need each other.
God isn’t enough. And that isn’t a bad thing to say, because he made it that way.
One of the coolest things is that pursuing a relationship with God and relationships with other people aren’t mutually exclusive. It isn’t one or the other.
When we love each other, we are loving God. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” And what commandment does he give us then? To love one another.
It’s not enough to only “love God”. In other words, if loving God doesn’t look like loving other people, then it is not true love for God.
In the same way, our salvation is dependent upon other people. Not because we aren’t dependent on God, but because God is working in us through others. The only reason we came to faith was because those around us somehow led us to a place where we were able to believe in Jesus.
The Scriptures say that “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Without other iron to sharpen us, we cannot be sharpened. Nor can we sharpen another.
Sometimes, we just need others in our life to help keep us going. There are times when life feels more like a chore than a privilege. Even with the amount of beauty that’s around me, I have trouble truly appreciating it.
But, then I have those around me, helping me along as I struggle to make it myself.
Hopefully, they’ll help me get to a place where life is no longer a burden, but I can look around me and think, “Wow. This is incredible. It was tough, but man, was it worth it.”
In the times where it feels like there’s no way in hell I could do this alone, we realize how much we always need each other.
Others aren’t just pleasant to have around. They’re essential.