About a year ago, I got stuck in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. I’m still there. These letters are the ones where he writes to the church that has gathered after the death of Jesus, within a few years, actually, and have already made a mess of it by adding in things that God never intended. Whether it was a control issue or simply people blown away and not able to accept the simplicity of what Jesus had done, the church was already adding a lot of “extras” to what Jesus taught about living for Him.
It reminded me of coming to the faith myself later in life. For many years, I felt as if I couldn’t even consider being a Christian because of my past–and honestly, my present. That God not only couldn’t love me but that He was ashamed of even having made me.
The faith seemed so complicated to me then. There were so many rules. So many expectations. So many things that Christians had to be that I clearly could never be. So many . . . complications.
I tried to sift through it all for years. I mean, years. I can’t tell you how many Bibles I attempted to read, or televangelists I tried to understand. I even tried writing letters to pastors to ask for help in understanding. None of them ever answered me. Not one. It just led me to believe that either they agreed that I wasn’t acceptable in their faith, or that it was so complicated it was impossible for anyone to be accepted.
When I finally did come to the faith at the age of 30, I’d already spent months investigating it. To be honest, I had a bone to pick with Christianity, and two women at work became the target of my questioning. I was determined to show them that the religion they blindly followed was seriously flawed.
Turns out, I discovered that Jesus was real.
But I have to tell you, second to the profound realization that Jesus was what I’d been missing my entire life, was the devastating discovery that Christianity was never meant to be complicated at all.
The faith I’d tried to understand my entire life, the faith that could have certainly helped me through a difficult childhood, the faith that would have made a difference in my struggling marriage, was very simple in God’s eyes. It was others who had complicated it to the point of keeping me on the outside looking in and feeling like I wasn’t capable of being who God wanted.
During a recent sermon, I listened as the pastor boiled it down to this:
Jesus + NothingNo matter how complicated we make it, no matter how much of our opinion we add, it can literally be boiled down to one word: Jesus. Click To Tweet
Jesus died to cover all of the things in our lives that keep us from a relationship with God. When we accept Him and choose to be led by Him, we are brought into His family. He took all that was complicated in the past and basically crushed it on the cross so that through Him, we all could have life with Him in it.
Notice there’s no mention of making up for past mistakes. Or being measured against one another to see which of us are deserving and which are not. Notice there are no allowances for those who work harder at being good Christians against those who continually make mistakes. There are not even allowances for those who sit in church for a lifetime versus those who never enter the doorway of a church.
It’s Jesus. And. Nothing. More
I’m over overcomplicating it, friends. Let’s keep it simple, shall we? Let’s show others who are desperately searching for it that it’s within their reach. That they are worthy. And that they too can experience life with Jesus despite anything—and everything—they’ve heard otherwise.