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Simple Love for Christ

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Will you put up with a little foolish aside from me? Please, just for a moment. The thing that has me so upset is that I care about you so much—this is the passion of God burning inside me! I promised your hand in marriage to Christ, presented you as a pure virgin to her husband. And now I'm afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth patter, you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ. – Paul the Apostle (2 Cor. 11:1-3)

“I’m afraid that you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ.”  Yes.  Indeed.  I share this concern for myself and for others.  It seems to me that inherent within our fallen nature we have the gift of making the simple complex.  We take what is easy and make it hard; what is clear and make it fuzzy.

Maybe this is to impress others and make ourselves appear smarter or more “spiritual” than we really are.  Maybe we are trying to make ourselves feel less common or ordinary.  Now admittedly some things in life are difficult to understand.  Even the apostle Peter said that some of what Paul wrote was a bit challenging for his simple fisherman’s mind.

But our relationship to God our Father, through His Son Jesus, isn’t something that should be so complicated. 


Think about it for a moment.  When Jesus first approached His would-be disciples He said, “Follow me.”  Simple.  He did not explain to them all the ins and outs of where He would lead them or what would be required.  There was no glossy brochure with a detailed itinerary of the next three years.  He simply said, “Follow me” and they acted in a simple manner – they followed Him.

When Jesus’ disciples requested that He teach them to pray He gave them a simple model to follow.  Luke’s account of this event has Jesus saying, “When you pray say…”  Some scholars believe this word can also mean “recite.”  I actually did this and timed it.  At a slow and thoughtful pace I recited Jesus’ model prayer in Luke and it only took me 15 seconds.  I did the same with Matthew’s version and it only took me 25 seconds.  So here Jesus gives us a model of prayer that is less than 30 seconds long!  So why do we make prayer so complicated?  Why do we insist that “godly people” spend hours in prayer (not that this would be bad!)?  Why so many books on prayer when Jesus taught that it’s really rather simple?

When asked about the greatest of all commandments Jesus did not write a 500 page tome on the intricacies of the Law.  Actually, Jesus never even wrote a book!  Instead, He simply said love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and then secondly, love your neighbor as yourself.  Not easy, but simple.  So why do we make living the Christian life so complex?

I’ve noticed that it is only as we grow older that our lives become more complicated.  The life and love of a child is very simple.  They don’t over think things or demand extended explanations to the quandaries of life. No, children live and love simply, trusting and resting in the arms of those who care for them.  Shouldn’t this be our approach to God?  Child-like faith and simple trust?  Jesus said it should.

Now I’m not advocating anti-intellectualism or suggesting we check our brains at the church door.  Not at all.  And I’m certainly not saying that life doesn’t hold deeply difficult circumstances and issues that perplex even the greatest minds.  But what I am saying is what the apostle Paul said:  I am afraid that many of us have been lured away from the simple purity of love for Christ.  

So perhaps you’ve been waning in your love for Jesus.  Maybe the Christian life has become more of a burden more than a blessing.  Could it be that you have made things too complicated?  Why not return to a simpler version of Christianity, one that exercises the simple purity of love for Christ?  Go ahead.  Try it.  It’s simple.