Book Review: It’s As Simple As This
It’s As Simple As This is a compact, condensed booklet of Norman Grubb’s message about the way of total living in Christ. I wholeheartedly endorse this booklet because it is quick to read and easy to understand. Norman walks through all aspects of our born-again faith in this booklet. It’s As Simple As This is a complete, point-by-point reference to what Norman describes as having “no understanding of man except in his relationship with God.” This is a great title to the booklet because of its simple, written illustrations packed with Biblical references. This booklet answers all the questions people have about why am I here? What is my purpose in life? How do I live as a Christian in today’s society? How do I reach lost people?
Norman Grubb’s writing is packed with scriptures, even though not all of them are referenced. He then takes the scriptures mentioned and puts meat and bones on them. His writing is also sprinkled with practical, even personal, applications that flesh out his points from scripture.
At the time I read it, I vitally needed (and found) in Its As Simple As This a quick, start-to-finish, Bible-filled, easy to understand reference of how my Christian union in Christ works and manifests itself in my life. When I picked up this booklet, I was desperate to find a quick source of Biblical references for the points Norman makes about no independent self, the law of opposites, my spirit-to-Holy Spirit union relationship with Christ, and how that union relationship is lived out through me. With Its As Simple As This I quickly reestablished a fresh foundation of these critical points of faith, then moved forward to the more mature themes in the latter pages of the book about God’s highest use of mankind, which is where I desired immediate answers. Norman concisely explains how “standing in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30) for other people works–God prompting me to “lay down my life for others” (John 15:13). What I learned in It’s As Simple As This then is how to live in my third, father level of faith when “we move from merely knowing God’s acts to participating in His ways (Psalm 103:7).”
When I got to this section of the booklet, I was in a personal crisis of faith and these very passages helped me understand my role in His living through me. I had come to a point of asking myself about the stage of “taking up your cross,” beyond the point of going to His cross for salvation.” I had an almost overwhelming desire to help others come out of sin, to see other people “whole, complete, lacking and needing nothing” (James 1:4). For me, Its As Simple As This has been a great source for considering, understanding, then saying yes to “becoming free from overriding self-concerns to involvement outside ourselves in people and situations.” I read, desired, then by choice “became willing to be forever cursed–cut off from Christ–if that would save” (Romans 9:3) people God has laid on my heart to see repentant and living in “the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9).
When I read the section called “The Spirit’s Drive In Us” it confirmed in me that my desires to reach out to others are really God’s desires through me. Norman writes that “a permanent drive ‘eats us up,’ that all the world, and that means for us all within our guided reach, must share this life’s secret which belongs to them if they but knew it: “Beloved, now we are the sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be…Whatever confronts us as the area within our reach where we can bring Christ to others…by whatever form of involvement the Spirit indicates to us that we can be in action in bringing our light to others.” Opportunities to reach out and to share may seem small, like sharing bit of Scripture or some words of encouragement with someone, or they may seem big like leading a Bible study. Big or small, they are God’s perfect opportunities. It is for me to obediently respond to God’s promptings in all circumstances, taking the opportunities He presents to share and reach out, knowing that it is really Him bringing His own light is to others through me.
The “To Sum Up” section answers in concise, understandable language why I am here and how I can trust to live as Christ in me–as me–for His lost world: “Our only reason for existence, glorious as that is, is to express God in His nature and reproduce Him in all forms of sacrificial love-activity so that we are He in our forms…we are God-expressers through Christ in His holiness nature indwelling us…we are captured by the pressures of self-giving love, God in His lamb nature, and lay down our lives as intercessors that others may find their secret of life, ‘death in us, and life in you’…total fulfillment in present-day world living–Paul’s Colossians 1:28, ‘presenting every man perfect in Christ Jesus.'” I then recognize and confirm I am only a vessel/container of the Holy Spirit. I check my desires as being either self-for-self or self-for-others, then trust, obey, and abide in His actions through me to reach, encourage, shed His light, His truth in other’s lives…that are as close as an arm’s length away.
By the Holy Spirit’s directive in my life, I reevaluated a sin-filled, rebellious period of my life. I re-lived a period of time that was extremely painful, dark, and full of sin. The Holy Spirit prompted me to think about and consider a time in my life when I was a Christian, yet I was in rank, sinful rebellion against God and what I knew was right. I came face to face in my thinking with someone I had known then. She had lots of problems; she was lost and needed help. If she was saved, I did not know it. If she wasn’t saved, I DID NOTHING to bring Christ to her. Though I had my Savior, I did not share His hope, love, and salvation with her because of un-confessed sin in my life at the time. Then, months later, this person was killed in a car accident. I now see how I had God’s answer to share, but my sin kept me from doing so….And now, for her, it is too late! My tragic consequence of that sin-filled time in my life is that I cannot go back to her and “make things right” (1 Corinthians 9:11).
My conviction and subsequent repentance (change) has been motivated by the pain of that lost opportunity. In my repentance, I found usable applications for laying down my life so others might live in It’s As Simple As This. I learned that my desire is really Christ’s original desire being lived out through me. I learned that Christ’s highest and best use for His redeemed people is that we reach others with His love, hope, concern and encouragement. I have done all I know to do as concerns any people or opportunities God lays open for me to share Him to others through me. So, though I did not share Christ with Ann, out of her death has sprung motivation, life, desire to share Christ with others…to reach people as close as an arm’s length away…given practical application learned by reading It’s As Simple As This.