Friday, December 21, 2007

2 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 11:3-“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.”

I’m sorry I didn’t write to you last week. I ended up visiting a friend in the hospital, and then one thing lead to another, and you know….chaos happened. I do like it, however, when you ask me if my e-mail was working or if something happened to my computer as you feel that must be the only reason God didn’t have me do something embarrassing for you.

It makes me smile. Something I don’t know that I do a lot of lately.

Part of me wants this to be something in the spirit of the season. I want to write something pointing to Christmas and its importance. I want to write about the Savior and the manger, and the star and all that jazz.

But it wouldn’t be me; it wouldn’t be honest.

Let’s face it; this time of year is no longer simple. We fill it to the brim with so much of what we think this is all about. And I’m not talking about the gifts and the shopping and the commercialism and the continual “Christmas vs. Holiday” wording.

I’m talking about us, as Christians, and our attitudes. We lose sight of this season as well. We lose focus. We make out these grand schemes to touch everyone and do for everyone and feed and clothe and put on plays and have suppers and do service and….everything. We make it hard.

Christ was simple.

Some of you cringed when I put Christ and simple in the same sentence. You think of simple as being slow, or backwards. A simple person to you is one who is, for lack of a better term, stupid. But years ago, to be called simple was a compliment. It meant that you didn’t get caught up in all the crap that the world threw at you. You maintained your integrity and manner in all situations. You were steadfast and immovable.

I’m not simple anymore. I’m complex. And in complex things, you have many factors, like a complex mathematical formula. But just like in a formula, things can go wrong. The more complex the formula, the more that’s available to go wrong. And one small error can magnify itself, like a nuclear chain reaction to enormous proportions.

If you look at our Biblical examples, however, they were simple men and women. They didn’t set out to take over the world; they were just walking and talking with God. A couple of my favorites are Elijah and Isaiah. They are an example, to me, of simple, determined children of God.

Chuck Swindoll, in “So You Want to Be Like Christ?” says it best. He is talking about the example of Paul the apostle and how that should be to us. Our depth should be patterned after him, as his was patterned after Christ. He said, “I want what they had, so that my walk is such that I walk in step whether I feel good or not. Whether I get a yes or no to my prayers, I walk consistently, even when I don’t get my own way.”
[1]

How’s that make you feel? Me, it made me realize how complex I have become. You have to take an honest look at your life, as I did mine. Some of you may refuse to acknowledge that you have become a very complex person. I feel sorry for you, because that’s your loss.

The change from simple to complex didn’t happen immediately, either. It was a gradual one; kind of like the old time story of boiling a frog. You don’t put him in boiling water, because he realizes it’s hot and jumps out. Instead, you put him in cold water, and then slowly heat it up around him and he never knows.

Until it’s too late, that is.

Once again, I’m putting myself out there for you. We have made this season into everything it’s not meant to be. We marshal all our resources for this one shot at unsaved people, and in some ways that’s good. But what happens on December 26th?

The story is the same before and after Christmas day. It’s simple because God made it that way. He did that, because He knows the kind of person I am. He knows that if I get a chance, I’ll louse it up by adding my own little twist here and there to just kind of “improve” it and make it better.

It’s simple for a reason.

Now, I need to get back to that reason. So, I have to find the factors in my formula that I don’t need. I need to erase some of the things that don’t add up to a hill of beans in this life. I need to get back to being simple. I need to remember my first love.

When I was simple, I did everything so much better.

I love the little stories we get and stuff that people send to remind them of this season. I won’t be sending them out, because there are enough of you doing that to cover the world. I’m going to keep it simple. If I abide in Him, He’ll abide in me. If I get close to Him, He’ll get close to me.

“But Bo,” some will ask, “what about everyone else? What about all the other people who need to know Him? We’ve got to do this and send this and all that stuff! Don’t you care?”

Jesus Christ encased Himself in our flesh and walked among us for 33 years. He partnered with 12 guys, one of whom was a traitor. And they changed the world. They didn’t have mass mailings, or plays, or anything like that. They simply walked and showed the love of God to everyone they came in contact with on a daily basis.

Look at what they did, from that simple beginning. I’m tired of trying to improve on it; I’m gonna try and get back to walking in the simplicity that He initially showed me.
How about you? Is your life simple or complex? Take an objective step back and see if you are all about filling your life with things and doing, instead of just being.

Jesus has an extra eraser for you, too. He’s got plenty for all of us.

Simplify.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

[1] Swindoll, Charles R. So, You Want to Be like Christ?, p.16. Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005.

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