No Substitute for Jesus

I grew up watching my grand-mom put two tiny white tablets in her coffee. I asked her what it was and she said, “It’s saccharine—it’s just like sugar.”  I was a kid—sugar was my best friend—so I tried it. Just like sugar? How about more like sweetened battery acid. It was disgusting. Not sure how she could honestly say it was “just like sugar.”

That was my humble opinion as a kid and it’s still the same today. Whether it comes in a blue, yellow, or pink packet, I don’t know how anyone with a clear conscience can say, “It’s just like sugar.” Here has been my experience—there is no substitute for sugar. No matter how hard scientists try—only sugar can be sugar. 

What people do with sugar we often do with Jesus. We attempt to substitute someone or something else for him. The result?

No matter how hard we try—only Jesus can be Jesus.

Here is the sad thing—our substitutions never come through. No doubt you know what’s it’s like to give your heart to a substitute for Jesus and end up disappointed, left hanging, and even deeply hurt by the fall out because that substitute you were hoping would only ever be amazing didn’t come through.

You wanted your sports teams to only ever be amazing. You were hoping that relationship would only ever be amazing. You thought that once you got married it would only ever be amazing. You hoped your church would only ever be amazing.

Let’s face it, we long for consistent goodness in everything. We long for consistent love—consistent care—consistent victory—consistent everything that’s good.

Isn’t that what you want? It’s what I want. And here is reality—God made us to want that. God made our hearts to long for that which is only ever amazing. But here is reality—there is only one place to find it. And it’s not found in anything on this earth. And when we try to make something on this earth fulfill the job description of only ever being amazing it will fail us.

You see, God made our hearts to long for that which is only ever amazing and it can only be found in one place—in one person. His name is Jesus. 

Only Jesus will ever only be amazing. There are no substitutes for Jesus.

Much of our prolonged heartaches and headaches in life are because we are expecting someone or something other than Jesus to be ever only amazing for us.  And what God calls us to do is to repent of our idols and come back to the real thing—Jesus.  

Turn to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. -1 Thessalonians 1:9-10