Thursday, December 03, 2009

Keepin' It Simple

If anyone wonders why I follow Jesus, I'm pretty sure all you need to do is hang around for one my passionate rants about the true simplicity of the Christian life. There aren’t a lot of rules, regulations and limitations to faith. In fact, I'd suggest that there's freedom to it if you really look at what's at the core. If you ask me, our job as Christians, as followers of Christ, as Jesus’ reflection to the world, is to love God and love people. Everything we do in life can and should be measured to that standard.

As a church body, I think our job is the same.

Love God.

Love people.

Each other. Our neighbors. Our coworker. Our boss. The mailman. The doctor. The dentist. Our teachers. Coaches. Fellow drivers on the Deerfoot.

Okay, maybe it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Sometimes I don’t want to love ‘those’ people. Sometimes it’s inconvenient. Sometimes it requires sacrifice and giving up things I don’t want to give up.

It does, however, free me up to be the person God has created me to be and to use the gifts that God has created me to use.

Living motivated by love for God and people seems much more simple and freeing than being motivated by rule keeping and ‘living within the lines.” I think that’s the way that Jesus wanted it.

In Matthew 11, Jesus reminds his listeners of this saying: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Right after saying this, he has a run in with the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, who were making faith about the rules instead about true heart of the matter (see Matthew 12). It seems to matter a lot to him that we focus on first things first and let that, his yoke or example of love, inform the way that we live, both for our own good and the good of those around us.

So as I live each day in interaction with the people around me, I'm trying to be look through the lens of love. I'm trying to simply be me, loving people, in spite of how I'm treated, how it might just come back to bite me in the bottom or what people expect or assume should be my response. I'm not there yet, at least not all the time, but I'm getting there. You know what I'm learning? It IS freeing. I don't have to play the games that I see being played around me. I don't have to wonder what my response should be. I don't have to second guess motives and no one has to second guess mine. I like that.

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