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January 7, 2019

God First: Simplify and Soar

 “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV)

Have you noticed that the more you own begins to consume you?  The more you have, the more you must take care of, insure, protect and maintain.  Before you know it, the stuff you own begins to own you!  In our consumer culture, there’s something to be said for those who are pursuing a simpler life.  Minimalists seek to unclutter their lives by cutting out the things that destroy their happiness.

Paul was just as concerned about this among those whom he had brought to Christ.  He was keenly aware of the subtleties of Satan to distract Christ followers and lead them astray from the simplicity that is in Christ.  In his commentary on 2 Corinthians, author and pastor, Warren Wiersbe, says, “The word translated ‘simplicity’ in 2 Corinthians 11:3 means ‘sincerity, singleness of devotion.’ A divided heart leads to a defiled life and a destroyed relationship.”

If we are to soar in our faith and experience the fullness of God’s Spirit in our lives, we must allow nothing to corrupt our minds from the simplicity that is in Christ.  How often, though, has the enemy of our souls convinced us to substitute a form of religion for an intimate relationship with God?  We get caught up in religious activity, like the church in Ephesus, feeling proudful of all our achievements while losing our first love.  As the serpent deceived Eve into thinking she could be like God without God, we can become convinced that we can achieve in our own strength what only God can do.  Soon, we lose the simplicity that is in Christ and, with it, the joy of our salvation!   The problem seemed to be systemic.  Even the church in Galatia found themselves deceived by this crafty serpent.  In Galatians 3:1-4, Paul wrote:

“You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the Cross was certainly set before you clearly enough. Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God. If you weren’t smart enough or strong enough to begin it, how do you suppose you could perfect it? Did you go through this whole painful learning process for nothing? It is not yet a total loss, but it certainly will be if you keep this up!”

As you begin a new year, why not begin with a new you? What are the things that have been destroying your happiness and distracting you from God’s best?  It’s time to simply and soar to new heights in Christ.  Don’t overcomplicate your relationship with Him.  He desires a love relationship with you.  Here’s His invitation:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Prayer:

Thank You, Lord, that I don’t have to climb a Mountain of Perfection to be accepted and loved by You. I can simply kneel at the foot of the cross and be forgiven.  Guard my heart and mind from anything that would distract me from the simplicity of being in Christ. I commit each day to You and trust in Your strength, guidance and wisdom to direct me.  Help me to follow You with my whole heart. Thank You for loving me.  I love You, Lord.