Posted by Reuben Morgan on 10 June 2014

Reuben Morgan reflects on a poweful testimony, and wonders whether we can remember what it was like when we first got saved. Sometimes, we all need reminding of how simple it all used to be.

 

A little under two hundred years ago, a massive revival swept through Wales. And like all true revivals, it sent people packing. With hearts on fire, these wide-eyed believers gathered their belongings and took the message of a glorious, all-powerful, grace-soaked God to the four corners of the earth.  

Many were drawn to India - a land ruled by tribes, idols and multiple gods. It was a dangerous place, particularly in the northeast region of Assam, where the practice of head hunting flourished. Severed human heads became a form of currency and a symbol of power and the rule of fear.

As Welsh missionaries started preaching throughout Assam, the conversion of one family in particular sparked controversy. The local chief was angry, raging against the family who had embraced this new religion brought in by the pale skinned outsiders. 

The more the chief ranted and the more the chief threatened, the faith of the family - particularly the husband - gained strength. He began telling others about Christ, and saw others make the choice for themselves to follow Jesus. Of course, this made the chief even more angry, and one day the entire village was called to a meeting. In front of everyone the man and his family were commanded to renounce their faith.

But none of them would do it. Instead, the man poured out these simple words:

“I have decided to follow Jesus
Not turning back, not turning back.”

This made the chief even madder, and he ordered archers to kill the man’s two sons, right there and then. And as they died, the chief commanded the man and his family to renounce their faith. Again, his reply spoke of true faith in the midst of great fear:

“Though no one joins me, still I will follow
No turning back, no turning back.”

The chief ordered the murder of the man’s wife. As her blood stained the earth, still the man kept his eyes fixed on Jesus, calling out: 

“The cross before me, the world behind me
No turning back, no turning back.”

Eventually, just like his wife and his sons, the man was killed. The other converts watched on, awaiting their own fate. But the chief was troubled. How had this man shown such courage? What was it about this Jesus Christ that was worth laying down your life for? What power was found in this strange new God? 

Stunned, the chief fell to his knees. He had seen so much death in his life - but never a death like this. There was only one choice. He, and the rest of the village too, would follow Jesus. 

*

When it comes to following Jesus, we can be tempted to make things so complicated. We start adding to the equation. Where at first we were sure that Christ = enough, we change the formula; 

Christ + church = enough 

Christ + friends = enough 

Christ + ministry = enough

And then there are the less noble things that we add instead of church, friends or ministry. Like power and influence, comfort and wealth. In order for our lives to be full and for us to feel like we have enough, we wander so far away from those first days. We stray far from home.

But there is always an invitation to return to the center. Always. Why? Because Christ is enough. We don’t need to add to the mix or start to rely on anything other than this one, simple, life-changing truth; Christ is enough. 

People sometimes talk about the secret of successful living, but it’s really no secret at all. Pale skinned Welsh missionaries, single-minded Indian evangelists forced to their knees, even blood-stained village chiefs have all discovered that when we rely on Christ and Christ alone, life finally makes sense.

A few years ago the Church was full of talk about how to live a radical life. These days we wonder about engagement and connection and discipleship. They’re all good outcomes, but we risk over-complicating things when we get stuck in formulas and programs and systems and five-step plans. Christ is enough. If we live today and tomorrow with those three words burned on our hearts, then how can the world not be transformed?

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