Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the simplified christian life

When we live lives that are truly grounded in grace, we end up practicing gratitude.

The apostle Paul connects the reception of grace with the practice of gratitude in Colossians 2:6-7 where he writes: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Too often, we make the Christian life more complicated than it needs to be. This is why I think we would do well to practice what I call "the simplified Christian life" which is based on but three realizations:

1. That we are in need.
2. That God gives us a gift to meet our need.
3. That the best response is to simply say, “Thanks!”

The Heidelberg catechism that was drafted in the middle of the 16th century puts it a bit more eloquently. Question 2 asks: “How many things must you know that you may live and die in the blessedness of this comfort?"

The answer? "Three. First, the greatness of my sin and wretchedness. Second, how I am freed from all my sins and their wretched consequences. Third, what gratitude I owe to God for such redemption.”

The simplified Christian life says, "If you were to focus on practicing only one thing in life, you would do well to focus on practicing gratitude."

What if all God really wants is for us to say “Thank You”? What if all God really wants is for us to rest in the knowledge that all of life is gift and to live out of the overflow of that singular captivating thought? Wouldn’t that be, as Jesus says, “abundant life”?

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