Made famous by Jeremy Camp circa 2006, Give Me Jesus was actually birthed in the fields of plantations, becoming a common spiritual hymn sung at camp meetings and church services during the mid to late 1800s.
The effortlessness behind the lyrics enables an individual to truly mediate on its meaning, which is simply Jesus.
Often times when dealing with religion, we use big words and engage in long monologues to get our ideas across. We often add complexities in our lives to justify our beliefs, pacify our anxieties, or prove ourselves right. Some intricacies that come to mind are denomination, sanctification, dispensationalism, and fundamentalism. While doctrine has its place and time, when I think on the old spirituals I can’t help but think, “They didn’t have all this fussiness.” For them, it was just about Jesus.
1 Corinthians 13:1 begins, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong…” This is in a letter to the saints that earlier in the text states, “knowledge puffs up what love has built.” Jesus even kept it as simple as, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and… Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I’m certainly not of the viewpoint that Jesus was some unlearned man. He knew the scriptures and the politics of the time, but he chose straightforward, uncomplicated language that connected to his audience is a very tangible, relevant way. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit...”
So why do I spin my wheels trying to come up with my own solution to every matter when indeed the answer is simple?