Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:8–9)
Philip’s request to see the Father reveals that he hadn’t yet understood who Jesus is. Of course, at some level, Philip knew that Jesus had been sent by God. But he still wanted that oh-so impressive spiritual experience. Ironically, he was totally oblivious to the fact that he was already with God. The “radiance of the glory of God” (Heb. 1:3) was right there in front of him.
We see something similar with Paul. Sharing about his thorn in the flesh, he says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Co. 12:8–9). About this passage, one scholar writes, “Paul prayed for relief from the pain, but got God instead.”
We often walk through life doing this very thing. We want God to give us something more, something different than what we have:
“God, take away my suffering.”
“Lord, why won’t You just show up and make this easier?”
“Jesus, I’ll obey You if You give me some kind of sign.”
But here’s the problem: while we’re busy asking Jesus for that “next big thing” we think we need, He’s offering us something far better—Himself. Paul goes on to confirm: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content” (2 Co. 12:10). The same goes for Philip. He thought he needed that spiritual experience to confirm that he had somehow stumbled into God’s favor. Turns out, he had everything he needed right in front him. Once he realized it, God gave him favor in abundance to share the Good News about Jesus with others (see Acts 8:4-40).
Through their hopes for something more or different, both Philip and Paul discovered that, in Christ, God was already offering everything they would ever need.
C.S. Lewis once said, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
The things we often want from God always pale in comparison with what He has already given us. Though we don’t realize it, Him giving us what we want might cause us to miss out on the truth we’ll be singing this Sunday—”Jesus is better.” Therefore God says no at times, but only because He’s offering us an infinitely better yes.
As you look to Sunday, is there anything in your heart that contends with Jesus for supremacy over your life? Are there any expectations you have of God that serve your agenda rather than His good purpose? Take some time to pray about that. Ask God to reveal anything in you that is keeping you from receiving His best for you. Then—to borrow from C.S. Lewis—put those mud pies away so that Sunday can be for you “a holiday at the sea” with Jesus and His church.
“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Co. 1:20).
Set List for Sunday, April 22, 2018:
The Lion And The Lamb (B. Brown, B. Johnson, L. Mooring)
What A Beautiful Name (B. Fielding, B. Ligertwood)
Singing in The Victory (M. Dawes, B. Land, A. Ivey, J. McCreary, L. Walter, D. Schmidt)
Come Thou Fount ( R. Robinson)
Jesus Is Better (A. Ivey, B. Land)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.