This world is not enough. Yes, it’s the name of a not great 1990’s Bond film with Pierce Brosnan, but it also how we are all living now. We live like this world is not enough. It’s why we all want more—more experiences, more satisfaction, more love, more sex, more success, with more purity, more abs, more glutes, more status and more. If we were content, enough would be enough.

We aren’t content and, yet, despite, Christianity’s call for contentment I want to argue that this lack of contentment is right. The existence of our discontent, tells us we were made for more.

We aren’t content and the existence of our discontent, tells us we were made for more.

But not more more. Rather, more better. Our life is full of experiences, many good and some awful. But, what we want are the best experiences. The trip must be amazing. Our bodies must be perfect—with our six-pack defined and our glutes glowing. (Okay, maybe not glowing but not ordinary!) And we don’t just want sex—we want out of this world sex. And when it comes to success, more is better but we don’t just want more. Everything ought to be awesome. We want to be the best and have the best.

If we are agreed that this world is not enough, the question then becomes, what is the solution? The lists [1] below explore two solutions to the problem that this world is not enough. One list is the gospel—the great news about Jesus, in thumbnail. The other is what we hear almost every day in our Western culture in casual conversations, in movies, on TV shows, and injected into us by Instagram. This list is a lie.

The lie first and then the Gospel.

The Lie 

The world: Your world is inferior and must be better.

The problem: The mundane is the problem.

Your body: Turn your body into a perfect looking body.

Truth: Look inward to find the real you.

Life: Escape the mundane to the amazing life. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from becoming the real you.

Change: Move toward the perfect life through tips, tweaks, hacks and the secret of success. Self-create.

Spirituality: Move past organised religion, and find spirituality.

The goal: Move toward fulfilment by breaking past the barriers set by tradition, religion and others.

Self: It’s all about you.

The Gospel

The world: Creation is good, although broken by the fall. Yet Christ has won the victory over the fall, sin & death. Creation now groans for the day heaven and earth will be reunited in the new creation.

The problem: Sin & rebellion against God and his created order is the problem.

Your body: Jesus’ gift of grace, by his death on the Cross, frees us from sin and death. Those who have trusted Jesus will receive the body of their hopes, the resurrected body, in the new creation.

Truth: God’s revelation found in the Bible, by the power of the Holy Spirit, opens our eyes to God and the true nature of things.

Life: Joy and meaning is found in worshiping and serving God. As you serve God and so serve others you discover joy, deep joy. Or put more simply—Joy: Jesus, Others, You.

Change: Pursue Christlikeness.

Spirituality: You are a recipient of Grace, which is found in Jesus. You are pursued and loved by God.

The goal: God chooses to partner with his people in his mission in the world through the church. The church is a foretaste of the coming kingdom. Build up the church, God’s community gathered around Jesus Christ.

Self: It’s not about you, but, about Jesus.

The lie is alive and well in Western culture. It is doing very well, thank you. It is both the solution offered to our discontent and the source of our discontent. Note the language, it is about you doing more and being more. It is a vicious circle of sourness that makes us malcontent when we can’t achieve the more we long for.

The lie is also doing very well in Christian churches. It has crept in by stealth and is strengthened by churches that are on about life coaching rather than the great news of Jesus and his loving and saving rule, the gospel.

The Gospel pushes us to see what we have—or can have—in Jesus. And, it still calls for change, but not with discontent.

The Gospel, on the other hand, is about what God has done in Jesus. Already. It pushes us to see what we have—or can have—in Jesus. And, it still calls for change, but not with discontent. It produces a longing for change—along with the profound assurance that those who trust in Jesus will have what they long for.

You are right; this world is not enough. Feel the weight of your discontent. And then turn to the gospel and away from the lie. The gospel is the great news about Jesus Christ, understood and lived out in a local church, that lives and breathes the gospel. Slowly but surely you’ll find that the gospel is enough because Jesus is enough.

First published at risenchurch.org.au

[1] The list is heavily based on Mark Sayers chart in his book, Disappearing Church, p 68.