Complicating Christianity

9:25 PMHeather

The older I get, the more perspective I gain.  Not sure I’d call it wisdom, per se.  I’ve found that in these years I’m continually unraveling some old myths, wounds, lies, and deceit.  About myself.  About life.  And about Christianity.  And, one of those things I’m gaining insight to is that we Christians tend to complicate matters.  A lot.  It’s no wonder the world around us might be turned off by these perceived chains of laws and rules, and the out and out hypocrisy of trying to live a pretty little perfect life that lacks authenticity.

Who wants any part of that?  Yet, here we are.  In a world filled with suffering, pain and seeking—we live these lives that perpetuate this idea that being a “good Christian” means never failing, always judging, and never ever having fun.  Oh no.  No fun indeed.  Because we are so busy following all the rules, living in our little bubbles with blinders to the world around us, and honestly—living some obsessive compulsive life of staying clean and perfect and, well—boring!

Life is complicated enough.  Who wants any part of choosing more complications?  I, for one, am learning how to throw that off and to simplify.   Not just by paring down the junk in my house, the excess in my schedule, and to quit trying to live up to the expectations of others.  But also by really getting to the root of who Christ is and what He wants for us.

Pardon me if you feel I am oversimplifying.  But, to put it in a nutshell—I believe God wants our life goal to be to know Him more and love Him more each day.  Period.  Really.  Think about it.  If we do that—all else falls into place.  Doesn’t Matthew 6:33 say:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
And all these things will be added to you.

Instead of trying to live out every single verse, sermon and teaching we glean…let’s boil it down and set our hearts on just knowing him and loving him more today than yesterday.  And, yes, there is so much merit in digging deeper and gaining knowledge and wisdom and discernment.  The Proverbs are full of verses about the riches of gaining wisdom.  But, first things first—how about just trying to know Him and love Him more?  THEN, we’ll be digging deeper before we know it.  If we try to dig too deep and learn too much without knowing and loving him—what good is that? 

Next on my list of simplifying is this whole thing called evangelism.  Oh, I’ve learned the Evangicube, the Roman Road, and even knocked on a few doors in my life time.  Again—all these things have merit and I have no beef with them.  But, what I love most is the old saying about being a strong witness—and if necessary, use words.  We make Christianity look so complicated to an unbelieving world.  Say this prayer, read this book, attend this class.  AGAIN—all GREAT, GREAT things.  I am not opposed to any of this.  But, in a conversation with someone who needs more out of life—can we just emphasize this truth?  We know someone—a friend who sticks closer than a brother—who has made all the difference in our lives.  That relationship is life changing.  And, we just want to introduce Him to them.  Plain and simple.  No need for a doctorate in theology about who Jesus was or his lineage or a full understanding of all his teachings.  First and foremost—it’s about a vibrant relationship with a living God, a dearest friend, a source of hope, joy and encouragement.   Prayer is talking to him, the Bible is his love letter to us. 

And, last but not least, my take on the nitty gritty most basic truth about relationships.  Those complicated things between two sinful people that cause pain and joy, ups and downs.  What does the Lord require of us?  LOVE.  And it’s twin—GRACE.  Truly.  When you boil the gospel down to its most fundamental elements I believe it’s summed up in these two little words.  LOVE and GRACE.  Because of his great love for us, he desired to pour grace over our failures so we could live with a perfect God for all of eternity.  So, he sent his Son.  Christ was the embodiment of love and grace.  The cross summed it all up.  A picture of God’s love for us that caused him to show us grace.   A grace that has to be big enough for every worst sinner and every horrible mistake, or it’s not good for anything or anyone. 

So, why choose anything different with one another?  As we navigate these tricky things called relationship, God is calling us to show His love by pouring out grace.  That doesn’t mean that we never set boundaries or perimeters and we allow others to stomp all over us.  No, sometimes, it’s just the thing to set some limits in a loving way, showing grace as we do so.   Showing grace and love means that if we consider any relationship issue we are having—love and grace are some pretty potent prescriptions for what ails us.  They are powerful tools indeed.  Isn’t it his lovingkindness after all that draws us to repentance?   Want to know how to interact with those who believe differently than us?  Those who make us uncomfortable?  How about getting off that church pew and pouring out a bit of love and grace.  We all need it and desire it.  So, be a vessel of it.  What would Jesus do?  Oh, he’d go to the poorest slums, the seediest establishments, the darkest prisons to show his love and grace. 

Glimpse of grace:  I don’t mean to oversimplify or offend any of you who think I am really off track.  But, I do mean to challenge you to consider how you muddy the waters of living out your faith on a daily basis because you’ve gotten bound up with rules, regulations, and complicated expectations.  Throw off those chains, bloggy friends.  I double dog dare you to simply pray every day to know him and love him more today than yesterday.  Enjoy Him, look for Him, train your eyes to see how He is moving and acting on your behalf today.  Quit being so serious and stuffy.  Don’t hesitate to let others in on this great relationship you have.  And for the sake of connecting with others at their deepest heart need—pour out some love and grace.

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