I remember a home Taylor and I got to visit in one of the villages of Benin. There were few of the common things we find in our houses (including electricity), but there was no shortage of joy. The husband in the family rode a bicycle with a little license plate containing these French words: JESUS SEUL SUFFIT. When I asked my brother what this meant, I learned a secret. JESUS ALONE IS SUFFICIENT, or more simply put, my brother explained, JESUS IS ENOUGH.
This was Paul’s secret too. He had intelligence, he had education, he had health, he had position in society… but he surrendered all to gain Christ. “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”
What blessings did Paul receive in his pursuit? Perhaps he gained the same things I saw in the home of Germaine and Pierrette in West Africa: contentment, joy, peace… the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “Jesus is enough for us. We don’t need much to be happy. We have everything in Christ.” Or as Paul put it: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Who gives such strength? Who is our hope? He wants us to know Him. He wants us to know He alone is sufficient. He wants us to know His love that surpasses all knowledge. He wants us to be filled with the Spirit of the Living God.
I think if Paul could pray for us now, he would pray the same things he prayed for the Ephesians long ago: “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe… I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”