Have you ever heard someone say something you’ve not been able to shake? Something that has changed your life and become part of you?
That almost never happens to me. (I have a terrible memory, so remembering what people say is pretty near impossible if I don’t journal within twenty-four hours!)
But there’s one sentence from this past year that has lodged in my gut and changed my days—possibly even the course of my life—ever since I heard it:
The Christian life is simple. Love God, love people, and repent and believe the gospel when you fail.
The Christian Life Made Simple
A pastor spoke these words simply as I sat in a circle of complete strangers (you can read about that story here).
What I want to communicate now is that this truth has been changing my thoughts and actions ever since I heard them. And I think they’ll do the same for you.
See, for years I’ve scurried around trying to chip away at my to-do list. But just when I’d eliminate one task, three more would pop up.
So I’ve lived with the mentality that “after my work is done, I’ll rest.” (All that did was result in a giant physical and emotional crash several years ago.) But recently God has used other means—as well as this one, simple sentence—to calm my anxious heart and change my whole approach to the Christian life.
Instead of hitting the ground running each morning in an effort to tame my beastly to-do list, I’ve realized that my task for each day is simple: Love God, love people, and repent and believe the gospel when I fail.
Where did this pastor get this idea? Probably from Jesus. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, this is how He responded:
“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. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40).
What It’s All About
This is what the Christian life is all about. Our Creator made us in His image. He has charged us with living like Him, the God of love. But we have failed. Big time.
God knew we would. And so because He is love, He has made a way for us to be transformed.
He sent His Son to live a life of love toward God and others in our place. While Jesus loved mankind perfectly, we spit in His face. Rejected Him. Left Him for dead.
But Love is stronger than the grave, and He rose victoriously, securing a forgiven past and a brand-new present and future for all who would trust in Him.
That’s not all. He hasn’t left you to muster up love for Himself and for others on your own. He has given His Spirit to all who trust in Him—this Spirit who just naturally produces love.
So if you’re anxious like me, I have good news. You can breathe deep. The Christian life is simple, really:
Repent and believe the gospel when you fail.
Okay, it’s your turn to talk. How does this simple summary of the Christian life focus and/or redirect your hectic life? Do you need to repent of not loving God and others and believe the gospel—that in Christ you are forgiven? What can you do today to cooperate with the Spirit in you in loving God and others?