Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Week Thirty-Six - Simplicity


…that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world,
 and more abundantly to you-ward.”  II Corinthians 1:12

This world just seems to get more complicated all the time.  There is always new technology to learn and along with that come new complications.  My husband always complains that the computer is supposed to be so much faster, but when he wants a simple thing done, the computer has another mind and he winds up taking more time than if he had just put pen to paper!

The social world keeps making more regulations and demanding more red tape to the point that you are considered a bad parent if you allow your child to climb a tree because you are being neglectful and putting them at risk. We live in a world bound up in protection and less free and simple than ever.
The Apostle Paul states here to the Corinthians that he lived his life simply.  Not that he lived minimally, but he lived purposely and with a single direction.  Wesley commented, “having one end in view; aiming singly at the glory of God.”  The obstacles and laws of the day didn’t distract Paul.  He lived his life with mental honesty and an openness of heart that was revealed to those around him as he gave his life for Christ and the gospel.  He focused on the main point.  What is your main focus?


…he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity…”  Romans 12:8

This word, “simplicity” was also translated as liberal or generous.  It is the moral quality of honesty expressed in singleness of purpose or motivation.  It is usually shown in a liberalness of giving or attitude.  When the writer of Romans wanted to say that a giver should be generous, he also wanted to reveal the motive behind the giving, so he chose this one word – simplicity.
The giver is to be generous and his motive is to be purely, simply, for the act of giving, or, without the motivation to manipulate or bring attention to himself or the gift.
I’ve heard preachers say that if God has your heart, then he has your pocketbook as well.  I like to think of it like a grandfather with a grandchild.  There is no pretence in his giving.  He gives to them because he loves them.  He simply enjoys seeing them happy and wants to make them happy.  He will not withhold but be as generous as he can afford.
Isn’t it great to receive a gift that has no strings attached?  Isn’t it great to give a gift that is simply from your heart because you want to express your love?
God loves a cheerful giver and a cheerful giver loves God!  Are you cheerful in your giving?  Do you give with strings attached?  Or do you give at all?


“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 
II Corinthians 11:3

That old serpent sure was trying to sell Eve a bag of promises. She would be like God. She would have great wisdom.  She would not die.  She was missing out! All of his words were woven to draw her into his trap, to make her desire more than she had.  Of course, he did not tell her the whole truth and he did not tell her of the consequences.

The simplicity of Christ brings a sincerity of moral quality.  Honesty; expressed in singleness or purpose or motivation.  Christ did not have an ulterior motive.  He was not trying to trick us into believing.  He came simply out of love and the desire to obey His Father in order to pay the price for our sin.  This is humbling and totally undeserved on our part.  But he didn’t stop there; now he ever lives to make intercession for us.  Then also, he lives within us, empowering us to serve all the while he is preparing a place for us.  We will be blessed to be with Him for all eternity.  This, too, is humbling and totally undeserved.  Yet, this is the plan of God – and by faith we are partakers.

You can examine every step of Christ’s obedience and sacrifice and never find anything but a simple desire to express love, to give totally, and to obey whole-heartedly.  Anytime you get to thinking that Christianity is confusing, come back to this one thought – Christ died for us out of simple obedience.  Let that bring you back into focus.

What about you?  Are beguiling words of the Tempter influencing your Christian life?  Is your mind being corrupted from the simple fact of Christ’s love and sacrifice for you?  Is your focus distorted and confused?  Come back to the cross!


How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?”  Proverbs 1:22

The use of the word here has nothing to do with liberality or generosity, it means to be naïve, easily deceived or persuaded. Barnes defines it as “fatally open to evil”.

This verse holds a warning for us.  We are to be wary of living life in such a simple, vulnerable way as to allow evil to deceive or persuade us.  Such simple ones are those who will fall for flattery, will be easily allured or enticed to wrong and danger.  They have not set a moral code by which they make decisions.  They are easily swayed by advertising and cunning words.  Though they are injured every time, they will return to their simplicity and are prey for the next trickster.

God’s children should not be so.  We should be children of light, children of wisdom, children aware of their surroundings and the evils that allure.

The fact that the verse is a question leads me to believe that it takes some people a long time to learn the lesson and that they will experience a great deal of hurts until they do.

How about you?  Are you easily led astray?  Do you fall into get-rich-quick schemes?  Are you guilty of impulse buying?  Do you unquestioningly follow the fads and fashions? If so, it might be high time you wised up!


“And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing.”  II Samuel 15:11

Absalom had been a long time in planning his overthrow of the kingdom. He had carefully laid his plan and built up a strong base of supporters.  Now, he was ready.  His spies had received their instruction and he chose out the specific two hundred men from Jerusalem that he wanted to have around him.  These were men of integrity.  When they heard the acclamations of joy, which the spies were to sound forth, and the cries of “Absalom reigns in Hebron”, they would believe that David was dead and under their influence others would follow Absalom.  At least that was his plan.

And it worked.  David fled and Absalom took rule, at least for a while.

Imagine what it would be like to be one of these men.  You believe you are doing right only to find that you have betrayed your true king.  Surely they were hurt, confused and embarrassed when they saw that Absalom had used their good names to his advantage.

The word “simplicity” here means blamelessness and innocence.  These men were not rebels. They were solid men of the community, and they had been hood-winked.

What can we learn from this?  A good name can be soiled even in innocence. We need to be careful with whom we take league.

What about you?  Do you have acquaintances and business partners who could damage your reputation?  Are you doing what you should to protect yourself, or are you blindly following in naïve simplicity?

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