I am a master over-thinker. My super power is coming to the worst possible scenario in a matter of seconds. If over-thinking were a sport, I would win a gold medal. It’s something many of us struggle with, this ability to over analyze every little thing. I often wonder what it is like to live in someone else’s brain. What it would be like to find quiet spaces within my mind, where no more is being thought of than necessary to remain alive. But here I am. God made me this way for a reason, and as of late I’ve been contemplating the idea of complication.
I was reading an article today about marriage. In it the writer mentioned, briefly, this idea that Christians tend to over-complicate and over-think some things. I don’t even remember what he/she was referencing, but clearly the thought stuck with me. (Because over-thinker)
As I was ruminating (shocker), I realized that although theology is deep and there is much to be gained from truly analyzing and pouring over scripture and theological materials, what God calls us to is simple. So very simple.
It’s almost shocking how simple the Gospel truths are. You were born into sin. God loves you and doesn’t want to leave you in your sinful mess. So, God sent his only son to die for you because He loves you. This salvation is a free gift, one that requires nothing of you, because you have nothing to offer in return, apart from yourself. Which you willingly give because you love Him too.
These truths are uncomplicated. But we, complex as we are, often like to make it so much more difficult. We have a difficult time understanding God’s grace in a way that allows us to live in peace, knowing the goodness of God. We feel we have to do something, to be someone, in order to please Him, in order to be enough for him. The thing is, we can’t be enough. Apart from Christ, we will never measure up. Never. It is impossible. A holy God cannot allow our sin filled lives near himself. That is why “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (thank you Mr. Hopewell for making us memorize that verse in high school) Jesus died with our sin on his shoulders so that we could have life with God.
Vastly complex yet uncomplicated truth at the core. We must be willing to humble ourselves enough to accept that we cannot measure up to God’s standards, so he had to measure Jesus in our place. Imagine standing on Jesus’ shoulders so that you reach the line that says “must be this tall to ride this ride.”
Once we have finally got a slight grasp on grace, we move on to complicating everything else. We dissect each piece of the bible to fit into our finite brains that are infinitely smaller than the one who conceived it. We can’t grasp it because “Great is our Lord, abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” Psalm 147:5 His understanding is far higher than ours, yet we try to match wits with an unmatchable God.
So we think, think, think. At least I do. I complicate everything based on feelings, and days, and moments of weakness. I begin to wonder whether or not Jesus is really holding my hand or if I am a white washed tomb, clean on the outside, dead bones inside. I lose hope. I lose faith. I get lost in my thoughts. I contemplate my life, my faith, and whether or not I measure up.
Because, honestly,who measures up to an immeasurable God?
Gently, Jesus reminds me. None of that matters. He has paid for it. He rid me of my sin, in his view my once scarlet robe is now white as snow. I can’t measure up, but that’s OK because I don’t need to. He points me to Matthew 22:35-40 “ And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. Anda second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Love God, love others. That’s it. Everything hangs on those two simple sentences.
At our church, our mission statement is “Love God, love others, live it out.” It’s an uncomplicated, profound call to action. Living under grace does not mean that we get to just say we love Jesus and all is well. No, because of God’s love and mercy we are moved to love him all the more and through that love we are propelled to love those around us.
I have more thoughts, but my verbosity is getting the best of me and I will save those for another time. Until then, in your life, what does it look like to live under this simple grace?