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One Thing Is Needed

by Chip Brogden
“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41,42).”
We often sacrifice God’s One Thing in favor of many things. There is something more significant to be seen in Mary who sits at the feet of Jesus versus Martha who is “much serving.”

Jesus is not contrasting service and worship and saying that worship is better. No, Jesus is contrasting “many things” with “One Thing.” We are consumed, absorbed, worried, and vexed with many things – serving, witnessing, preaching, giving, writing, singing, attending meetings, reading, studying, building churches, fellowshipping – when Jesus says only One Thing is needed, and Mary has discovered it, and it will not be denied her. What is the One Thing?In order to grasp God’s purpose for all things let us look at several Scriptures.

“Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:9-11).

What does this passage tell us? First, that there is a Will, and it has been revealed to us. Second, that God’s Will is “all things in Christ.” Third, that everything is working according to this purpose. Let us look at these three points more particularly.

The Revealed Will of God

There is a Will, a purpose, a reason, a goal towards which God is moving. Something is intended. A result is sought after. God is not floating us along aimlessly towards everything in general and nothing in particular, but He is moving us towards something. Since He exists outside of time, the End is already accomplished from God’s perspective. To us, who are still bound by time, things do move forward. We have a past, a present, and a future, while God inhabits all of these at once. Knowing that there is a Will and that the Lord is bringing us towards something is clearly for our benefit. God wants us to know His Will that we may enter into it and work in harmony with Him, cooperating together. Why does He not just do what He wants? Why bother to reveal it to us at all? Because we are part of the Will.

Most of the world’s philosophy is based on mankind’s attempt to answer these questions: who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going? These questions can only be answered when we consider them in the light of God’s ultimate Will. There is a purpose, a reason for being, a reason for creating, a reason for living; a purpose which is larger than us, but includes us.

I ate breakfast in a diner once that had a sign on the wall that read, “If there is a will, I want to be in it.” I’m not sure what the intended message was, but it immediately resonated with me. I want to be in the Will of God! And I believe every Christian wants the same thing.

All Things in Christ

What is the Will of God? “That… He might gather together in one all things in Christ.” God only has one need, one desire, One Thing that He wants to accomplish, and once we see this we will find everything else is peripheral to this One Thing. What does God wish to accomplish? God’s ultimate Will and desire is to sum up everything into Christ, so that Christ is All in All.

From henceforth, when I talk about God’s Will I am speaking of His eternal purpose and plan of summing up everything into Christ and putting everything under His feet. I am not talking about God’s will for you personally, or God’s will for your ministry or business. These may be terribly important to you, but what we are considering now is something which transcends these matters and touches upon the ultimate Will of God for all generations, all people, all nations, the whole of creation – the One Thing He is after.

Now we understand why Mary is said to have discovered that One Thing that God wants, that One Thing that He is after, and why she has forevermore taken her place at the feet of Jesus. Food, fun, fellowship, friendship, all is forgotten. She exists to wash His feet with tears, anoint His feet, and hear Him there at His feet. “Kiss the Son,” Psalms 2:12 says. In this matter it is not a kiss of greeting on the cheek, or even the kisses of His mouth which speak of the love between the Bride and the Bridegroom (Song of Solomon). It is kissing the feet in subjection to the One Whom God has appointed as the Heir of All Things. The kissing of the feet of the Son, and the sitting at His feet, is the acknowledgment of all that the Father has vested into the Son and the recognition that everything has been placed below His feet, beginning with US.

Everything Relates to This Will

Thus far we have seen that there is a Will, and that God’s Will is for Christ to fill all things. There is a third thing to be seen: “[God]… works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Everything that is spoken, revealed, or done by the Lord is connected in some way to the One Thing. We might call it the Cosmic Will, or the Universal Will, or the Mind of the Spirit, or the Prime Directive, or simply the One Thing. However we choose to describe it, that is what God is after. It is His Will, His Desire, His Purpose, His Need, His Heart.

If we read and apply ourselves to the Scriptures – the books of Moses, the Law, the Prophets, the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles, and the Revelation – we will eventually see One Thing taking shape and coming into being. It is this one, continuous, unbroken thread of His Will which weaves its way throughout all of God’s dealings with man for the past six thousand years, having its beginning in eternity past and reaching its conclusion in eternity future towards One Thing.

But more importantly, we see that everything is moving in relationship towards God’s End. It is the “why” that explains God’s reason for creating the world, heaven, hell, the devil, and man himself. It is the motive for sending the Word to be flesh and live as a Man, to die on a cross, to be raised to life, and to be exalted to God’s right hand. It is the impetus which caused God to pour out His Spirit on all flesh and establish the Ekklesia. It is His purpose in judging the world and creating a new heaven and a new earth.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul describes it as the Mind of the Spirit:

“Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:27-29).

Einstein wanted to know the Mind of God. Here, we have it. If we change the order of the first verse, it may help us to see it more clearly without changing the meaning: “He makes intercession for the saints according to the Will of God BECAUSE He knows the Mind of the Spirit.” We know from the Book of Hebrews that “He who searches the hearts” is Christ, and He “that makes intercession for the saints” is Christ (Hebrews 4:12; 7:25).

Because Christ knows the Mind of the Spirit and He is making intercession for us according to the Will of God we know that all things work together according to His purpose. And to leave no doubt as to the purpose, we are told that the purpose is “to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Christ as All in All.

We frequently quote these verses and interpret them to mean that no matter what happens, good or bad, God is going to make it all work out for our good, and it will all turn out right in the end. That is not all that Paul is saying. What he is telling us is that all things are moving in relation to God’s purpose of summing up everything into Christ. God’s End is Christ as All in All. Everything in heaven and on earth is moving in relation to this.

So in Romans we are told that God is “working all things together… according to His Purpose” and in Ephesians we are told that God is “working all things after the counsel of His own will.” The key phrase here is “all things”. How do we judge if a thing is of God or not? We need only determine its relationship to the One Thing. Either it is in harmony with the One Thing or it is one of the “many things” which may be good, spiritual, or moral, but does nothing to move us towards God’s eternal purpose.

God’s Goal: The Preeminence of Christ

Of course, there are other Scriptures which refer to God’s Will in Christ:

“And [Christ] is the head of the body, the church [Greek: ekklesia], who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence”(Col. 1:18).

Does Christ have the preeminence in this world? In the Ekklesia? In our family? In our heart of hearts? Not always. Sinners rule the world, “saints” rule the church, we rule our own families (which accounts for our failed marriages and broken homes), and we govern our own hearts, doing as we see fit. Yet the Will of God is clear: that Christ would have the preeminence in all things. Obviously we are not there yet:

“But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus… for whom are all things and by whom are all things” (Heb. 2:8-10).

Do we see it yet? Not in its fullness, no. We have a little here, and a little there. Where this has already happened, where we actually see and experience Christ having the preeminence, it is called the Kingdom of God. It is not a visible thing, but an invisible thing, for Jesus said the Kingdom is not seen, but is within you. Eventually the Kingdom of God will swallow up the entire Creation and Christ will have the preeminence in all things. Why? Because all things are for Him, and all things were by Him. That is what this verse is saying.

For now, when we abide in Him we are full of His Life individually, and this is a beginning, but it is largely invisible. He fills us and to some extent He is seen in us once we are conformed to His Image. But filling the Ekklesia is not the end, but the beginning. The end must include “all things,” not just the Ekklesia:

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,      and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phl. 2:9).

The key words in the verses we have discussed thus far are “every” and “all.” In these Scriptures our eyes are opened and our vision is enlarged to understand that God’s ultimate purpose is that Christ would have the preeminence in ALL things, that He would fill ALL in ALL, and that ALL creation would reflect His glory.

May the Lord continually open our eyes to give Him the One Thing He desires. Amen.

 

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32 Comments

  1. Sharon

    Just finished reading this, and I’m finally starting to “get it”. You’ve been talking all along about Christ in all, the preeminence of Christ, etc. I thought I knew what you were talking about, yet I really didn’t understand. It’s all starting to come together. There is so peace in my heart.
    Thank you so much.

    Reply
  2. Deirdre

    Hi Chip: Now the revelation that I felt came from God so many years ago makes sense: the thimble of God’s love pushes the needle of our lives trailing the threads of our experiences thru the fabric of our existence creating a tapestry to His glory—– “It is this one, continuous, unbroken thread of His Will which weaves its way throughout all of God’s dealings with man”. It is a comfort and reassurance to see the God a little more clearly. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. Trissa

    Another layer of the onion is peeled away. I sense my eyes are not blinded as they once were. “To KNOW HIM and the POWER of HIS resurrecton.” All the rest in this world…even things that are of life and death…worries…concerns…are under HIS domain. Thanks for this lesson; I believe I will need to revisit this many times. “He must increase and I must decrease” is paramount in my mind as I greet each new day, circumstance..whatever comes my way.

    Reply
  4. Tracy

    I’m left breathless. I have to read and re read the phrase about Christ preeminence in the church , family , our hearts and the world ~which why everything falters and fails – we rule our own dominions acting as gods when we simply are not! That is so very true Chip – Thank you for your insight..

    Reply
  5. Samantha

    Wow! My brain is full. This reading has built on what the Lord is speaking to me in my daily reading. Some time ago I realized that I did not KNOW Jesus or who He is. I was terrified. As He reveals Himself to me I understand how limited my view of The Kingdom and God is. I could be very disheartened at this revelation but I am not. At the beginning of this article You mentioned Mary and Martha. Yes Martha complained and Jesus set her straight. Not by belittling her but by DEFENDING Marys actions. Jesus defends us as we learn and grow. He guards us as we regain the spiritual sight God intended us to have through Him. Thank you and be blessed.

    Reply
    • Gina Burpee

      I know exactly what you mean Samantha, I felt the same way! So eye opening once He begins to reveal the mysteries of His will to us.

      Reply
  6. Grace

    One Thing Is Needed—the first scripture the Lord made real to me when I first surrendered my life to Him. I remember being impressed with His promise that it would not be denied her, and I personally claimed that for a while. After reading “One Thing Is Needed” article, my world-view suddenly grew from what I saw back then to what I’m seeing now.
    “May the Lord continually open our eyes to give Him the One Thing He desires.”
    Amen.

    Reply
  7. GERMAINE POSSI M.

    ALLELUIAH…may HE continue to reveal me the one thing He desires.

    Reply
  8. Jeanne

    Indeed only one thing is needful…Him. Him in you,in me,in us all, and through all. Him.

    Reply
  9. Mario C. Alleckna

    Thank You, Lord, for this wonderful gift You have given to Chip–the gift to communicate these revelations in a way that is so clear.
    So clear indeed: (Quote)
    “Does Christ have the preeminence in this world? In the Church? In our family? In our heart of hearts? No, and no, and no, and no. Sinners rule the world, “saints” rule the church, we rule our own families (which accounts for our failed marriages and broken homes), and we govern our own hearts, doing as we see fit. Yet the Will of God is clear: that Christ would have the preeminence in all things. Obviously we are not there yet:

    “For now we see not yet all things put under Him, but we see Jesus… for Whom are all things and by Whom are all things (Hebrews 2:8).” (end quote)

    Thank you, Chip, for sharing the “BIG” picture. So good to be reminded that God’s will and purpose are so much greater than…

    Blessings, and All 4 Jesus!
    Mario

    Reply
  10. Jocelyne Ramana

    La volonté du Père est que Christ ait la prééminence dans ma vie… Merci Chip pour ces enseignements.

    Reply
  11. Liz Horton

    Well, i’m full, Amen. i am overwhelmed and have much to digest. thank you, love in Chirst

    Reply
  12. Carylen Terry

    Thank you Chip for caring about God’s people. I truly enjoy the teaching.

    Reply
  13. Angel Pla

    Thanks for your teaching. We must decreased and Him must increased has always be the issue that God wants for us.

    Reply
  14. Marilyn Wright

    I hope this isn’t too long.

    Just last night I was so distraught not knowing where to be connected. I was so tired of going to meeting after meeting. God showed me that I needed to be connected to His Word. Jesus said that He is the vine. We are the branches. If we abide in Him and His Word abides in us, we will bear much fruit. Apart from Him we can do nothing. As I meditated on the thought of just being in the Word, the Holy Spirit deep within me grumbled as if so hungry for the Word.

    Psalm 1:1-3 and Joshua 1:8 talk about how if we meditate on God’s Word day and night we will have success.

    I believe this is why Jesus said that Mary chose the better portion.

    The angel Gabriel went to Zechariah, a male priest doing his priestly duties in the Temple. It was at the hour of prayer with multitudes of people praying. But when the angel announced the birth of John the Baptist, Zechariah didn’t believe what he said.

    The same angel went to Mary, an ordinary woman going about her daily life outside of the Temple and announced the birth of Jesus. Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word. She didn’t go back to the Temple and ask the priest for his permission to birth Jesus. She went to Elizabeth and helped her.

    We are to be conformed to the image of Christ. Paul said, “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”

    The way to have Christ formed in us is to do it the way Mary did – the New Testament way, not the way Zechariah did – the Old Testament way. We simply have to say, Let it be done according to Your Word and follow God wherever He leads. Jesus wasn’t born in the Temple but in a stable.

    Reply
  15. Connie Oliver

    Such a simple concept, but at times so hard to grasp. Thanks once again for this timely reminder.

    Reply
  16. Regina Sanchez

    Very well written. I prayfully desire to let Christ be my All in All and that He has preeminence in my life.

    Reply
  17. Wilma Korthuis

    This is good

    Reply
  18. Susan Hall

    I’m working on my second time through this course because I gulped it down out of thirst. Now I am sipping, savoring it.

    Reply
  19. William Tock

    Simply thank you. I want CHRIST to be the center of my life and nothing else.

    Reply
  20. Patrick Maina

    Thank you for the pointing to that one thing that is needful.
    Blessings.

    Reply
  21. Lizette Silsbee

    Being center in Christ means, staying focus in his will and desires instead mine. Christ increasing in me, is for me to do what He is asking me to do to in order for me to go forward with him. All this is for the preparation of His Kingdome. He is racing the
    new generation in Christ His Son. The only one could pleased the Father. Now, mankind can please the Father by believing in the
    Son. The First of the New Generation. The new and perfect Adam and His believers with Him as His body.

    Reply
  22. Melissa Alleva

    Awesome!! Thank you for putting this together, loved the ending with the dove.

    God bless you 🙂

    Reply
    • RANDALL HARMON

      After many years of Religion, living in the world, living for self there was one constant desire, that I may know…intimacy.. the true God and Jesus Christ. Despite myself during the last 15 years God has always intervened to reveal His Love, Mercy and it was-is personal. It was only 2 weeks ago that I was convicted of leaning on teachers, prayers and desires and that I needed to rely on His Spirit and the Scriptures. Chip, it was Christ in you and your many articles and podcasts that enough seed was planted in my heart that did take root deep that lead me to Christ as pre-eminent and this course. I knew and wanted to die to self so very badly but didn’t know how to put it into practice. I’m firmly convinced that God was prepping me for this course for Jesus sake. This is where the rubber meets the road. Thank you again Chip and all involved on this website and to my fellow brothers and sisters who have prayed for many of us that Christ would be formed in us.

      Reply
      • Randall Harmon

        Echoing Susan Hills reason for taking this course again.

        Reply
  23. Barry Honeycutt

    I have never understood what Mary did over Martha. It is so clear now, I was a Martha, busy doing all I could and even worked myself overwhelming stress. to the point of drifting away from Christ. For years I have been drifting and until 6 weeks ago have not felt God’s (YHWH) Spirit in perhaps 10 + years. I saw a picture of me being Sampson, Brother, and I scared me. I started searching for HIM with all my heart. I came across your studies about a week ago, although I have read many things you have written. I came out of all the “churches” years ago. I’m sad to say I never understood until know (and I scarcely understand) what Its all about! Its about His will and what His will entails. Which is about the Messiah! The Christ. Yahushua (Jesus) being all in all and having the preeminence! Thank you Brother for giving your all to Christ, and pray for our family – I’m raising 4 children who need to know also.

    Reply
  24. Lizette Silsbee

    It is great to know, we live a time where the Word of God is out to the open for everybody
    to grasp with the help and vision of The Holy
    Spirit , so we can confirm and share the same
    Things the Spirit is teaching through His Word and His body that utilized every tool to be a witness of Christ. The Will of God is simple and is one to all, I am grasping. It is the simple experience of Christ in All for the purpose of
    God’s Will. God sees His fallen creation
    through the obidience of Christ . God is
    Satisfied in His Son and redemption for
    Mankind is through Jesus The Messhia!
    Comdenation came through Adam, salvation and restoration came through Jesus . So
    everything visible and invisible should bow at the Name and Person of Jesus Christ. God in Person!

    Reply
  25. Roger McGary

    I am just coming back to the feet of Jesus, I have been away for so long, Thank you so much for revealing the spiritual truths that are designed to set us free and to give us life….Jesus Christ is everything…..without His preeminence we are just spinning our wheels going no where….I am reminded through all that I have learned today….Seek His Kingdom First and all of these things will be added unto you….Why have I tried so long to do it on my own….Jesus, take the wheel….Thanks Chip

    Reply
  26. Ara Shahumyan

    AMEN!

    Reply
  27. Tonya Lewis

    Thank you for such an awesome online course and article filled with so much truth.

    Reply
  28. Jeffrey

    Simply put we can either have a relationship with “The THINGS of God”or The GOD of the THINGS these two women,I feel were an example of!

    Reply

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