A Simpler Path

October 21, 2015
by John Stuart

Acts 2:46 – Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. (NIV)

I envy the first Christians. Their faith seemed very simple and straightforward. They worshipped and studied the Scriptures each day, and made time to frequently share meals and break bread together. They weren't encumbered with almost two thousand years of ecclesiastical history, denominational divisions, or cultural conflicts. They just simply, purely, and innocently practiced their faith in cheerful, faithful, and joyful ways.

Where did we go wrong? What moved us off the simpler path to Christ? Christians today appear to be constantly divided and deeply entrenched over many issues. Whenever I read something belligerently written by some Christian group, whether they be conservatives or progressives, which berates the other side, I feel badly inside. In the past, I've created and contributed to these self-righteous invectives, but now, I've reached a point where I ask myself these poignant questions: What am I trying to prove? How does my hostility advance Christ's kingdom in the world? What do people outside of the church think of our divisions?

I'd like to get back to those simpler days of sharing the gospel and breaking bread together. I'd like things between all Christians to change positively, so I know that it has to begin with me. I may not get it right all of the time. I hope that I don't wander from the simpler path, but I know that the church — whether local, national, or even international — can't go on beating itself with its own stick. The world is broken, and we need to be healers sent from Christ, but we can do that only if we honestly rid ourselves of our self-sustained prejudices, personal pride, and ineffective arrogance, as well as our self-inflicted wounds and fearful ignorance. The grace of Jesus Christ can be received by the world if we firstly practice God's grace among ourselves.

Questions for reflection: What is the role of the church in the world? How does it present that role in my local community?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we are all sinners saved by Your grace, but sometimes, we forget that we are essentially unworthy and unholy. Redirect our lives and re-position us on a simpler path of faith. Cleanse us of ecclesiastical arrogance, denominational divisions, and cultural conflict. Teach us Your way, so that we can faithfully present Your truth and graciously live Your life. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, John. Well said!

    A hearty amen to that John.

    Amen, John. Thanks for the reminder to grant others the grace we crave for ourselves. Blessings.

    Hi John:
    Very true words. Thanks again for saying them.
    God bless and keep you.

    Hey, John,
    You always seem to hit the nail on the head for me. So much to do and why in the world are we always fussing?
    Hope your fall is blissful.

    The world is broken, and we need to be healers sent from Christ, but we can do that only if we honestly rid ourselves of our self-sustained prejudices, personal pride, and ineffective arrogance, as well as our self-inflicted wounds and fearful ignorance.

    Good morning John,
    Every morning I use the listen mode to read the devotionals. And this morning I united my heart to yours to pray for unity. Your questions of reflection are powerful. I am God’s child seeking every day to know him and love him more and I don’t think he looks at what denomination I am. It has been on my heart for a long while now for unity in God’s people. I wonder how the world can believe in our Savior when we can’t even be one here on earth. Without even knowing you, I unite my prayer to yours this morning seeking, pleading, for God’s mercy on his children. I pray that His Church here on earth be one so that the whole world Will believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. Blessings on your day.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    Dear John: A year ago a local friend of mine arranged a Daily Devotional subscription for me and I have begun each day with reading the content authored by Christians such as yourself. I have replied to some BUT never have I printed the contents of any as I have done yours this morning.
    You, John, have placed on script what I have had trouble with for years as I was led to believe how the early Christians met to worship and honour our Lord in such simple ways. Yet Christ’s church on Earth grew and spread. Our various liturgies, institutional politics, and with church individuals seeking to hold ruling positions — power, have as you have pointed out, divided Christendom today. Too, we ashamedly also recall the horrors of the Inquisition. At the present time even, one would think we should be awaken to the threat Christianity faces as we acknowledge the Muslim hoard referred to as Isis. I ask myself, “What will be the future of Christ’s human specie, designed and commanded to Worship Him, if God doesn’t take hold?”
    John, I cannot improve upon what you have authored except to be reminded that although there are others with thoughts and concerns as mine, still it causes me to mourn.
    May our Lord and Saviour continue to bless you, John, real good.

    Wow, this is inspired, thank you!

    Well stated, John. Thank you. Let there be a new beginning and let it begin with me.

    Hello John I want to thank you for your writing. It gives me a nice lift when I read your input. I thank you again.
    Please keep writing.

    Hello John.
    I like your view toward simple gathering, and unity. One question, what church?
    “What do people outside of the church think of our divisions?”

    Dear John Stuart,

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