Skip to main content

Stop complicating things!

There are times when we just get our priorities mixed up - when we want something so badly and then forget about all the rest which really matters more than that one thing we are focusing on so intently.  If you have ever been a caregiver of an elderly parent or the parent of small children, you know what I am about to say next is true.  There are times when you just want the simplicity of your "old life" back - when you could come and go as you want, eat cereal for dinner, and not worry if the house was too cold for their thin blood or the objects in their world could topple over and hurt them.  The times were "simpler", but were they really any "better"?  The other day I saw a comedian describe what it is like trying to get out of the house with two small children.  I went through that phase - finding jackets, struggling to get shoes on feet (if we could even find that one which had somehow disappeared since the last time it was worn a few hours ago), and then the dreaded "I have to go potty" cry as we were just about to skedaddle for the car.  Yep, life was a little less complicated, but the thing missing was the "multiplied love" we recognize when life get a little "complicated" by the addition of those "extra bodies" in our lives!  Those we welcome into our lives are held in a pretty special regard, are they not?  Ever stop to consider the high regard God has for those who are welcomed into his life - those for whom he has prepared a special place in his presence?

You’re not a God who smiles at sin; You cannot abide with evil.  The proud wither in Your presence; You hate all who pervert and destroy what is good.   You destroy those with lying lips; the Eternal detests those who murder and deceive. Yet I, by Your loving grace, am welcomed into Your house; I will turn my face toward Your holy place and fall on my knees in reverence before You.   O Eternal One, lead me in the path of Your righteousness amidst those who wish me harm; make Your way clear to me.  (Psalm 5:4-8 VOICE)

We find ourselves in a mix of "welcome" and "unwelcome" guests at times in the circumstances of life we either create for ourselves, or have created by the developments around us.  There are those times when we embrace quickly everything and everyone who is in our lives at the moment; but there are probably more memorable moments when we wanted to turn tail and run away from who or what was coming into our lives.  This is just part of life - learning to "deal" with the unpleasant and appreciate the pleasant is just how it is.  God doesn't create chaos in our lives, but he isn't removed from us when it exists.  

He doesn't bring evil people into our lives to cause us grief, but he doesn't leave our side when they amble in with their evil intent.  His "carefulness" over our lives is evident all around us, just as the parent of the small child, or the caregiver of an elderly parent takes such care to protect and surround them with love.  God in our lives doesn't mean we are immune from the presence of evil - it just means we have a means by which we are protected from the destructiveness of evil and can walk strong in the midst of it.  

God doesn't smile at sin, nor allow evil to abide in his presence.  Maybe this is why he is quick to bring conviction into our lives - so we won't be inclined to make an "unwelcome" guest a permanent resident in our lives!  Sin doesn't make us evil, but it creates an atmosphere where God's presence has a hard time dwelling.  It doesn't keep us from being loved by him, but it is met with grace and mercy.  God's way for us isn't always clear, but he is quick to set us upon that path whenever we seek to know what it is he holds for us!

Sometimes we "look back" at life the way it used to be - thinking it was a little simpler because we didn't have to deal with the "conviction" of our present lives.  If you were truthful here, you might just say there have even been those times when you longed for the "simpler life" of just being your own "master" and not having to give an account to anyone other than yourself for your actions, attitudes, or accomplishments.  I have to challenge us to recall how messed up our lives became when we were the ones in charge!  Evil cannot beget good, and sin cannot beget righteousness.

There is something we don't always appreciate about our life - the "complexity" of being loved - of seeing "multiplied love" at work in our lives repeatedly.  God's love toward us isn't ever content to grow stagnant.  It grows and is revealed in new ways each day.  As he leads us down the path away from those things which have brought us harm, or intend to do so in our lives, he isn't doing it with judgment, but with mercy and love.  He is tenderly guiding us away from harm and into grace.  

As we stop to consider how much life is "complicated" by saying "yes" to Jesus, we might just want to reconsider that one - for life without Jesus was much more complicated than you might imagine!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,