By Alan Ch'ng
In today’s world, believers can choose from many good programs, study plans, seminars, videos and counselors to help us walk with Jesus. But has our faith become hectic and complicated? As Solomon concluded, "This is all that I have learnt: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated" (Ecclesiastes 7:29, GNB).
Recently a young man from Eurasia, who has only been a believer for a few years, reminded me to keep my faith simple. Jonathan (not his real name) came to Christ in a culture staunchly opposed to Christianity. His friends and family ridiculed and rejected him when they learned about his faith. Although he has almost no support network, he has experienced the complete sufficiency of Jesus. His faith has been tested, and it is simple.
Jonathan’s journey began when he met one of our Navigator missionaries from Asia, a bold man who has helped pioneer our work in Eurasia. He and Jonathan started meeting to discuss the Scriptures, and soon they formed a strong friendship. As he learned about the Gospel, Jonathan began to have dreams about Jesus, dreams so powerful that he couldn’t doubt the work of Christ in his heart. He learned to pray about all of his needs and saw God help him in tangible ways. He began to study the Bible twice a week with a small group of friends.
Several months ago, God opened the door for Jonathan to spend three months in the U.S. in a professional studies program. All of a sudden, he found that God had pulled him out of his unreached nation and thrust him into the heart of Christian America. He encountered big and small churches representing every denomination under the sun. He browsed through Christian book stores and heard Christian radio stations. The plethora of diverse options was overwhelming, and rather confusing. He wanted to understand what all of this should mean to his own faith in Christ, especially upon his return home.
Through a mutual friend, I gained the privilege of meeting Jonathan and listening. his questions. As he shared his confusion about everything from church denominations to different views of baptism, I could see his longing to simplify everything. He wanted to find the essence of what it means to follow Jesus. Then Jonathan paused and enthusiastically said something beautiful: “It’s about Jesus!”
Simple, refreshing, profound, insightful! Only the Holy Spirit could have revealed it so clearly to him. We talked into the night about many other issues: family, relationships, persecution, sharing Jesus with others, praying for our loved ones, our identity. But Jonathan reminded me that the Christian life should be simple. Jesus is sufficient.
Mark introduces his book to us this way: "The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1:1). He proceeds to give us 16 chapters of good news about Jesus. The apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians says, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). In the second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes: "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2-3).
Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Jesus mixed with nothing else. May our lives and our message be about Jesus. May we keep our devotion to our Lord simple and pure.
Alan Ch’ng is an International Vice President. Before joining the International Executive Team, Alan led our Asia Pacific Region for more than six years. Alan and his wife, Connie, moved to Colorado Springs in April 2013. They have three grown sons.