I’ve often thought about the words of Charles Wesley’s hymn:
Happy the souls that first believed,
To Jesus and each other cleaved,
Joined by the unction from above
In mystic fellowship of love.
Meek, simple followers of the Lamb,
They lived and spake and thought the same;
They joyfully conspired to raise
Their ceaseless sacrifice of praise.
© Charles Wesley, Public Domain
The gospel is simple: I am a big sinner and I have been redeemed by the amazing mercy of God through Jesus who died for me.
Life gets complicated and we can become confused. God’s purpose and call to us is often so very simple, but its outworking is often messy because we’re messy people. Sometimes we also don’t hear clearly or obey simply. We can listen to God’s call for someone else or for another church and get our wires crossed, but we need to keep a simple focus on the call of God to us.
In 1949 a wave of persecution hit Christians in China as the country cracked down on them, imprisoning and torturing pastors, burning down churches, destroying Bibles and hymn books, and killing some believers. As Churches were driven underground believers held on to Jesus when they had nothing else. The pruning knife of persecution simplified and intensified their love for God.
We need to cry out to God and continue to worship Him, and to let go of everything else but Him. Some of us are holding on to houses, relationships, religious opinions, but need to let go and love God and one another. This is how people will know that we are disciples of Christ, because we love one another as meek, simple followers of the Lamb.
Brother Yun was a leader in the underground Chinese church who held on to Jesus during the persecution in China at great personal cost. Someone asked him if the church in the west would be persecuted. His reply was surprising: he said that where there is a controlling structure other than the rule and control of the Holy Spirit there is already persecution.
Let us return to following the Lamb together. Let us love one another. Let us be servants of one another.
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