The Simple Beauty of Jesus

It’s probably safe to say that most, if not all, Christ followers have at least heard of John Stott. Universally loved, honored, and well-known for his writings and godly influence in the global church. And this pastor to pastors, was also well-known for his humble simplicity. Yet two things, in particular, about Stott and his life really stand out for me.

  1. He was, for all “who knew him, a walking embodiment of the simple beauty of Jesus, whom he loved above all else,” (Chris Wright).
  2. And he was also known for his simple, frugal lifestyle.

He believed in living simply so that others could simply live. A faithful giant – and one worth emulating.

Mario and I started exploring Simplicity even before our arrival on the mission field in 1989, with varying degrees of intensity.

Partly out of necessity, but mostly for conviction. And over the past few years, we’ve also been exploring Creation Care, or earth care. And the main thing I’ve learned from our efforts and research in these areas, is that it takes constantly renewed commitment and inspiration.

Everything about, and in, this current world system works to pull us in the opposite direction of these things. And as I was thinking on all this, I also felt somewhat adrift about blogging. So decided a break was in order.

And what I’ve come up with is that this blog is (and has always been) my school. A learning place for pushing myself to seek, grow, and learn. (And which I hope will inspire you too!)

And during that time, I took a look at Stott and his life. A life that showed the simple beauty of Jesus. The kind of life I’d like.

Stott called his last book, The Radical Disciple, his valedictory message to his readers. This particularly grabbed my attention, because by its very meaning, it implies a word he wished to leave us with. A teaching for us to carry on.

So I plan to explore some of the areas this book covers. (Not that I’ll necessarily blog about them all.) But they’re areas I lack in, and need to apply to my life.

Nonconformity – Christlikeness – Maturity – Creation Care – Simplicity – Balance – Dependence – Death

In light of this, our blog may take some new turns. I’m not really sure where it will lead.

I also cut social media during my break. I’d like to claim some great spirituality and discipline and say it was my Lent sacrifice. But it wasn’t; I was simply a little adrift. And actually, I’ve never even done Lent, although have though of exploring it.

But in seeing the need for change, I’ve cut or drastically reduced my use of social media, which usually leaves me feeling restless and dissatisfied . (And don’t know if I’ll pick it up again or not.) There’s already enough going on in the world to bring out those feelings. It’s insane to purposely seek out more!

What do you do when adrift? (Or am I the only one who sometimes feels that way?)

I’ve learned through the years that the best remedy for me is to stop and go back. Back to where things felt right, and then begin again. Sometimes I find that I’ve run ahead of the Lord. Other times I see that I’m just going through the motions. Or even picking and choosing the areas I want to grow in. But the main thing is to stop and wait. Wait for God to speak, and get back in step with him.

Because Jesus is Lord, we have no right to pick and choose the areas in which we will submit to his authority. (John Stott)

In his own words, Stott said the purpose of The Radical Disciple was “to consider these eight characteristics of Christian discipleship [listed above] that are often neglected, and yet deserve to be taken seriously.”

The thought that’s come to me is: If I’m neglecting any area or characteristic, how can I grow to the point of showing forth the simple beauty of Jesus? Christ must have all of me to do this — not just the parts I want to change.

Do you share our wish to show the simple beauty of Jesus? Let’s learn together!

[Image ©TheScorziellos-Mario]

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