“Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart…If we would find God amid all the religious externals, we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity.” – A. W. Tozer remarks in The Pursuit of God,
The story goes that English preacher Charles Spurgeon, on his death bed told some of his last visitors that “as time has passed on, my theology has grown more and more simple. It is simply this, ‘Jesus loves me!’”
Christianity was never meant to be complex. On the contrary, there is a reassuring kind of simplicity for the Christian to have a personal relationship with God. You see this kind of simplicity in Scriptures like Psalm 27:4: “The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” Matthew 11:29-30 says, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” At first read, these verses make it sound as if Christianity is both simple and a breeze.
The Christian life is fairly simple. One doesn’t have to be a theologian to be a Christian. One doesn’t have to go around with his head chock-full of deep, theological doctrine on salvation to be saved. One may simply live by such simple philosophies as “love God and love others.” But that does not mean it is easy. We are all called to a simple, even child-like faith. But how is that attainable when our lives feel anything but simple and when we are faced with so many un-child-like things, such as careers, debt, relationships, etc.? A simple faith feels impossible, and frustrating, given all of the responsibilities we have.
The pursuit of simplicity starts and ends with the Gospel. The God who created the universe did not make it difficult to know Him. Jesus came to earth disguised as a servant, not as a grand, ceremonial religious leader with pomp and circumstance. The hardest part of Christianity is truly receiving God’s forgiveness and love. It feels wrong to accept something that we so obviously don’t deserve. It feels too good to be true, too easy, too simple. But that’s what God is offering each one of His children. He made faith so simple. Sin entered the world and made love complicated, but sin cannot distort God’s love. When we accept His love, we can live a simple faith. Though there will be times that we do not understand ourselves, our lives, or the world we live in, we can be confident in who God is and sure of His love.
- Do you believe that Christianity is simple or hard? Why?
- What can you do this week to make following Jesus more simple or less hard?