Last year I wrote a blog post called Jesus is our Everything and began a list of all the things Jesus is. Saints continued the list in the comments, and it was awesome! I recently reread that post and afterwards was struck with the idea that while we know intellectually that Jesus is our everything, do we actually experience Him as our everything in our day to day lives?
For example, a few months ago I was going through an emotional rough patch. Most days I was rather cranky, which is not normal for me, as I am a usually happy person. I had known intellectually that Jesus is Joy, and that I have Joy dwelling in me, but during that time I had to practice experiencing Jesus as Joy. Jesus as Joy became much more real to me as I actually experienced Him as Joy despite my emotions.
I know a sister who went through a rough pregnancy, and during it had a very hard time sleeping. The Lord taught her through that experience to actually experience Him as Rest. Jesus Christ is True Rest because He is the Reality. Before her rough pregnancy she knew intellectually that Jesus is Rest, but after being in circumstances where only Jesus could be her rest, she knew by experience that Jesus is Rest. She understood because she had experienced Him as her rest.
So, how do we experience Jesus as the Reality of something? Well, it’s simple but it’s not necessarily easy. We experience Him as our everything (one thing at a time) by faith. I know, probably not the answer you wanted. Unfortunately, there isn’t a three step procedure. Fortunately, there is Someone who does all the work. We simply turn to Him in faith and believe.
I’ll use anxiety and peace as an example to share with you what I’ve discovered about experiencing Jesus as our everything. I deal with anxiety. I remember becoming aware of it 7 years ago. If I dealt with it before then, I don’t remember it. The Lord had taken us through some tough stuff and our life wasn’t going as planned. It seemed to be going in the opposite direction it was meant to, honestly. I struggled with anxiety for 4 years before my eyes were opened to see that Jesus is Peace. I became aware intellectually that Jesus is Peace.
Because of this new knowledge did my anxiety leave immediately, never to be struggled with again?
Nope. Just because I knew that Jesus is Peace didn’t mean I had experienced Him as Peace.
Through the circumstances of anxiety, I began learning to experience Jesus as Peace. What I gained was regular practice in experiencing Jesus as Peace. Sometimes the anxiety would go away quickly. Other times I would have to stand in faith that Jesus is Peace while the anxiety swirled within me. I would have to stand in faith that in my spirit there is peace, because Jesus is Peace and He dwells in me. I would have to stand in faith that my anxiety was not the Reality, but Peace was.
The Lord would usually lead me to some practical way of standing in Peace, though there was no formula or prescribed steps. I remember one time when I felt led to go to the grocery store and get groceries to make dinner for my family. Usually when I’m anxious I don’t want to do anything and the simple task of making dinner for my family was a way to live by Peace who dwells within me, rather than my feelings of anxiety. Other times I would listen to music (sometimes christian, sometimes not), or to a podcast. Sometimes I would simply sit with Jesus quietly, softly call on His name, and breath Him in and out. Sometimes I would be led to a scripture to meditate on. Honestly, now that I’m thinking about it, there are so many practical ways Jesus leads me to stand that it’s impossible to list them all.
Also, I learned that Jesus is truly one with His Body. Often times, being around other saints would relieve my anxiety, and sometimes being around saints would simply help me keep my eyes on Jesus when the anxiety wouldn’t leave. Jesus, through His Body, was Peace to me.
Over the years my anxiety has lessened and I have become more and more practiced in experiencing Jesus as Peace. But here’s the thing: the goal was never to eradicate my anxiety. Why? Because the goal is always for Jesus Christ to increase, and it was through my anxiety that I actually felt pressed to truly experience Jesus as Peace. Without my anxiety, Jesus as Peace would have just remained intellectual knowledge. The goal was to experience Jesus as my everything.
(And to hopefully keep some from going off the deep end: I have looked for other practical ways to alleviate my anxiety. Through the help of the Lord, I have noticed that some of my anxiety is simply hormones, and I’ve also noticed some triggers like situations and food, well, if you call sugar and caffeine food. So, I avoid those triggers as much as possible, and do things to balance my hormones.)
Saints, let’s not just know Jesus as our everything, let’s experience Jesus as our everything. There is the Reality.