Is Your Christianity Just Too Complicated? (Mine Sure Was)

Driver FamilyBY:  JOHN DRIVER

E-MAIL ADDRESS:  john@lifeassembly.com

BIBLE TEXT:  1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NLT): It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

PERSONAL REFLECTION:  I don’t fancy myself to be very fancy. I like the simple things. A warm fire on a crisp autumn evening. A little dab of whipped cream on a slice of warm apple pie. Box seats at the Titans game with a full buffet and a pre-game meeting with the players who sign all the jerseys from the free box of athletic apparel previously bestowed upon me during my “Key to the City” ceremony with the mayor and his accompanying dignitaries from Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

You know, the simple things.

I’ve often lamented the fact that Christianity seems so diverse with so many different leaders, churches, and movements focusing on such a variety of things to the extent that, honestly, how is anyone supposed to really become grounded in this singular faith? One person seems to worship at the altar of emotional experiences, while another elevates intellectual or educational attainment to the pyramid’s peak. One person cries hymns, another cries modern worship… and another person just cries for no reason. One person says dunk, while another says sprinkle… I’m talking about baptism, by the way, not donuts… although that does spark some creative ideas.

How can so many complex pathways lead us to all arrive at the same destination?

PERSONAL APPLICATIONWhile there’s nothing necessarily wrong with the various ways we express the message of Jesus (except, no doubt, with whatever viewpoint opposes your own), scripture reminds us that in all reality, this is a simple message. Paul called it the “gospel of grace” (Acts 10:24, Galatians 1:6). I know, I know… we already know all about grace. Let’s move on to the next lesson! Something that is more fun to study and easier to accept. Something a little meatier.

Something less simple.

But let me remind you and encourage you—the message of the grace of Christ is the very change in the hearts of people everywhere that all of us are searching for. You can’t study your way to it. Work you way to it. Express an emotion that makes it come. Pray all night to earn it. Or sin so badly to lose it. No, grace cannot be accessed (or lost) through human effort… because it is Jesus-initiated.

All we can do is respond to it.

But oh, my friend, in that response is the very freedom and transformation we all work so hard to conjure. And the funny thing is, the simple way—Christ’s way—is better. Who knew?

Jesus did. That is why Paul says that the simplicity of the cross—the greatest symbol of grace—is foolishness to any of us who think we must have it in a more complicated package. If it’s a sign you must have (vs. 22a), then grace seems too tame. If it’s wisdom you must attain, then grace seem too elementary (vs. 22b). But to those of us in any philosophical camp who respond to the simple call of grace (vs. 24), “Christ (is) the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Everything we seek is simply found in His grace… a simplicity worth surrendering to.

PRAYER: Father, I am so prone to overcomplicate the simple message of Your grace. From this moment forward, let it take a backseat to nothing else—not my experiences, my theological heritage, or my own prideful need to always be right. Let me simply respond by rightly believing in your grace for me, the same grace that was shown on the cross you bore in my place. In Jesus’s name.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   

I am a husband to Laura, and daddy to Sadie, a dog owner to Brutus, a friend to the best church staff in the world, a Teaching Pastor to the people of Life, a writer of books to some incredible friends I don’t deserve to partner with, a menace to my HOA (see clause about overgrown lawns), a thorn in the side of arrogant Alabama fans everywhere (even though they actually have something to brag about… and you know who you are), an alumnus to the University of Tennessee, a grumpy recipient to junk mailers everywhere (both hard copy and digital), an enthusiastic driver to my 20-year old T-100 affectionately named Gracie, and an experienced operator to my 33cc weedeater. Really, just call me a gracemonger.

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