Divine Mathematics: Jesus + Nothing = Everything, Part Two

In my previous post, I began to explore the divine equation Jesus+Nothing=Everything by thinking about what our longings reveal about human nature. In this post, I want to consider how embracing this divine equation can define your life in bright and liberating ways.A beautiful thing about Jesus is that he is always exposing and restoring our core identity. We were made to find life in Jesus—this is the happiness that God has for us and he invites us to share in his goodness in creaturely response. When we find our identity in anything other than God—even good things that aren’t meant to be ultimate things—we will be (at rock bottom, in the end) miserable.

C.S. Lewis stated the human dilemma with his typical clarity of thought in The Problem of Pain:[1]

To be God—to be like God and to share His goodness in creaturely response—to be miserable—these are the only three alternatives. If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows—the only food that any possible universe ever can grow—then we must starve eternally.

And we can share in God’s goodness as we embrace the glorious gospel—the scandal of the cross and God’s loving pursuit of us—and find life, indeed our identity, in Jesus.

As Tullian Tchividjian states:[2]

The gospel liberates us to be okay with not being okay….because of the gospel, we have nothing to prove or protect….The gospel grants us the strength to admit we’re weak and needy and restless—knowing that Christ’s finished work has proven to be all the strength and fulfillment and peace we could ever want, and more.

Why? Because when you get Jesus, you get everything. In closing, listen to Tchividjian’s reflection as he began to grasp the truth of the divine equation:[3]

 because Jesus was strong for me, I was free to be weak;

 because Jesus won for me, I was free to lose;

        because Jesus was someone, I was free to be no one;

because Jesus was extraordinary, I was free to be ordinary;

because Jesus succeeded for me, I was free to fail.

And the divine equation reveals something else that (to me) is quite startling: our core identity was never meant to be centered primarily on what we do, but who we are—and more to the point, whose we are.

[1] C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: HarperCollins, 2001 edition), 47.

[2] Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus+Nothing=Everything (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011), 120.

[3] Ibid., 24.

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