On the patio under a beautiful Kansas sky grilling steak, I couldn’t help but think about Pastor Steve Furtick and an oft-spoken phrase of his: “Christ is in me. I am enough.” You’ll see it on his Twitter timeline quite a bit.
In full disclosure, I enjoy listening to Pastor Furtick preach. I love to hear other preachers to get out of my own head. I enjoy the vast volumes of podcasts, a world of ideas at my fingertips. I am also a voracious reader. At the same time, I look for authentic, wise, and intellectually stimulating stuff. I am not a consumer of the dearth of materials churned out at break-neck speed by the vast evangelical industrial complex. But I love when something a preacher says makes me think and engages a dialogue of ideas to break up the monotony of otherwise “same-ol” days.
Since I haven’t written for months, mostly because a topic seldom strikes my fancy, I thought I’d chime in on this question:
Am I enough?
Taking into consideration the theological suppositions Pastor Furtick holds out, and appreciating that he is saying something that is new and fresh for many people, I want to say something without undermining the pastoral aspects of his statement. What he says has tremendous value in the care of souls, but somehow it gives me no comfort.
I know that I am not enough. My theological pedigree is stellar, my faith moves mountains, I have a knack for accomplishing the impossible, I have a tremendous testimony. I may have spoken in tongues once or twice, and healed a few people by laying on of hands.
I better stop before I have to let out my hat.
Wealth, check. Friends in the highest of places, check. An amazing, gorgeous wife (think Melania Trump type of wife- OK we’re older now, but my wife always be a knockout), check. Brilliant, sweet and beautiful children, check. Ministering in the most unlikely places around the world, check.
See, I’m so wonderful I can’t help myself.
I mean, if I really look at my life, it’s a wonder I even need Jesus.
But I do. Because I’m not enough. Even with Christ in me, I am not enough.
St. Paul communicated the Gospel differently than Pastor Furtick. Pastor Furtick probably means to speak to broken people. The secret about human nature is that even broken people tend to think more of themselves than we ought.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”
And in 2 Corinthians 3:5 he says, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.”
In other words: Christ is in me, and Christ is enough.
Of course, I often joke that the full holiness of the Gospel is too often lost on beautiful people.
I mean, St. Paul, he was in love with a beautiful Jewish girl. He had a falling out with her father who some traditions believe was the high priest. She didn’t fight to stay with him. Some scholars suggest that he was so homely she was relieved to be done with him. Thus you have Paul’s great speech, “A Pharisee of Pharisees,” he says, talking up all of his monumental accomplishments.
But even with Christ, he knew that he was not sufficient before God. He knew that Jesus came to fulfill all sufficiency on our behalf.
Pastor Furtick Apostle Paul
So for me it seems to be a matter of point of view. I mean, look at Pastor Furtick- or is that Drake? I don’t know. But Saint Paul? I mean, can Jesus really do anything for this guy? His mother tied a pork chop around his neck just so the dog would play with him…
It makes sense that “Christ is in me, I am enough” is comforting for Pastor Furtick. But what do you do when, even with Christ and the cross and the promise of salvation, you are still not enough?
For the rest of us, Paul’s words bring comfort: “Christ is enough. Christ is sufficient. His grace is sufficient for me.” The story of my life might be ugly, even hideous- the things I’ve lived through and the things I’ve seen, and I may never be able to be as “whole” as other folks but:
Christ is in me. Christ is enough.