Keep It Simple

 

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For the past number of years there has been an increasing trend toward minimalism. This has influenced architecture, interior design, wardrobes and even coffee shops. There is an emphasis on quality over quantity. Many are agreeing that simplicity is attractive and that, “less is more”.

I recently heard about a coffee shop that not only prided itself in serving great coffee, but also chose not to make cream and sugar available to customers. After all, why present the option of ruining the perfect cup of coffee? This only makes sense to those deemed, “coffee purists”.

I’d be lying if I told you that I haven’t been influenced by the, “less is more” camp. I would rather pay more money for a quality, timeless peace of clothing that I’ll wear for years to come than purchase a whole bunch of cheap pieces that will need to be replaced way too often. When traveling, it feels good to pack light and only take that which is essential. But also, as I’ve thought about the popular movement toward simplicity, I have started to see how this type of thinking parallels that of the Kingdom.

When the Apostle Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, he wrote to them partly in response to false teachers who had tried to dissuade the church from Paul’s pure and simple teaching of Christ’s Gospel. In Paul’s zeal for the simplicity of the good news he wrote, “But I am afraid that , as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

That God the Father sent Jesus the Son to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God is simply the best news that the world could ever hear! The Gospel is so pure, so simple, yet so powerful. It needs nothing added to it, and may we never subtract anything from it. It is, “the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people” (Colossians 1:26). 

The Gospel doesn’t require our crafted articulation or spectacular presentation. It works by itself. Paul knew this when he wrote, “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)

We live in a time when insight and revelation is abundant within the church. This is good, and I pray that it only increases. However, let us not allow a pressure to be profound distract us from the simplicity of the Gospel. May we continually fall in love with the best news the world has ever heard. And, may our response be a simple and pure devotion to Christ.

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Overcoming Comparison

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We can learn a lot about our Creator by looking at His creation. The earth is full of uniqueness. Marked by diversity. It’s impossible to find two trees that look exactly the same. No two mountains are identical. Each and every snow flake contains it’s own special design. And of course, every single person is different from every other. Even “identical twins” have their own personalities, character traits, likes and dislikes. It seems to be clear – the Father absolutely delights in individuality. And yet, many of us find ourselves comparing ourselves to other people, even wishing we were someone else. We say to our selves, “if only I was as gifted as that person..”, “if only I was as smart as them…” or “what i would do to trade lives with that person”.

Could it be that sometimes we simply lose sight of who we really are? The truth is, each and every one of us is designed so uniquely by God, that we can each touch His heart in a way that no one else can. God doesn’t just love you in some generic sense. He actually likes you. You touch His emotions. He takes tremendous delight in you. The more we understand this, the more we will like ourselves. It causes us to be comfortable in our own skin. That’s why when God called the Prophet Jeremiah He told Him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). In essence, God was saying, “Jeremiah, before you were even conceived I knew every intimate detail about you, and I liked what I saw”. Before God gave Jeremiah his assignment, He gave him his identity. He wants to do the same for you and me.

The prophet Isaiah declard, “the whole earth is filled with His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3) It’s true. All of creation points to the glory of God (see Romans 1:20). That’s why when God created the earth He said it was good. However, as good as the earth is, nothing in His creation displays His nature like you and I. We bear the very image of God Himself.

Not only do you touch God’s heart in a way that no one else can, you also display His nature in a way that no one else can. The way you were designed – your personality, giftedness and what you love to do displays a unique facet of His glory. Therefore, the moment you try to be someone else is the moment you start doing the world a disservice. The world needs who you are. The world needs you to be yourself.

“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you… the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1-2