I recently read about a major Christian university that commissioned a task force to, among other things, “provide clarity regarding the (school’s) identity as an evangelical Christian university” and to establish “a common understanding regarding behavioral expectations for fulfilling roles and responsibilities in light of university values.” Wow, is it really that complex? You’re a Christian university, follow Biblical standards.
Additionally, one can go to a Christian bookstore and find books on how to measure church health, how to facilitate church growth, how to pray, how to worship, how to be relevant, etc, etc. Christianity is glutted with books that, with great detail and complexity, show you how to find yourself, how ro lose yourself, how to be a leader, how to raise perfect kids. and countless volumes on how to have the picture perfect Christian marriage. For those who are strapped for time, you can buy “instant” Christianity books – thirty days to this, forty days to that, one minute Bibles, and discipleship as quick as microwaving instant oatmeal. All of these books, whether on spiritual disciplines, theological issues, or practical living, use Scripture references to back their claims. After reading these, one’s head can be spinning with facts, figures, “how to’s”, and loads of guilt for not doing what the “experts” say we should be doing..
Really, is living the Christian life really that complex? We sure have made something that is so beautiful, and so simple, into something that is so complicated.
Living for Jesus after you are born again is, at its core, really quite simple. It can be summed up in one word — “surrender.” Jesus made this clear in Luke 9:23: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Surrender is giving up all right s to yourself to Him. He calls the shots, He is in control. Your life is totally His and you live in total obedience and devotion to Him.
When we are on the journey of surrender, our lives will be holy, we will be able to integrate spirituality into every facet of life, we will know how to pray and we will glorify Him. When we are growing in intimacy with Him, which is the natural byproduct of surrender, we will be hungry for His Word, and we will build a Biblical world view on life. Take marriage for example. The Bible is very concise about it. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church (put her first and serve her); wives, submit to your husbands (allow him to be the leader of the home as God has ordained). Pretty simple. Yes, I know that the marriage relationship can be complicated. But just think, what if every married couple surrendered to Jesus and followed these two simple rules. Marriage would be in a lot better shape.
If a church is filled with surrendered believers, Jesus becomes the main focus, and it will be alive and healthy; and what is alive and healthy will grow. We won’t need to hire consultants, assemble task forces or committees or follow complicated charts and graphs to see what we are supposed to do. Just surrender to Jesus and obey the Bible. That’s all we need.
If it is so simple, why has Christianity taken the complicated route? Probably because surrender is not very attractive in a culture where “self” is the focus of life. As I mentioned above, surrender is giving all rights to ourselves to Jesus, but we fight this because we want to call the shots and be in control. So we take matters in our own hands and end up making a mess of something that was intended to be so simple.
Following Jesus is simple — it’s all about surrender.