Sunday, May 13, 2018

What's that I hear?

"Heaven's my throne, earth is my footstool.  What sort of house could you build for me?  What holiday spot reserve for me?  I made all this! I own all this!"   "But there is something I'm looking for: a person simple and plain, reverently responsive to what I say."  (Isaiah 66:1-2 MSG)

It is an encouragement to me to know that God is not looking for the eloquent or fancy to use for his purposes because I am neither. He is looking for the simple and plain to utilize as his instruments of grace and mercy to a hurting and hungry world. I spent some time a while back just looking at the various definitions of "simple" and "plain" found in Webster's dictionary. It is always a wonder to me to discover the "less than common" meanings of the various words we use in our English language. Know what I discovered? Simple isn't all that simple and plain isn't all that plain! For example, did you realize 'simple' means to be free, but freedom comes in many forms. It is to be free from guile - the bad stuff that pollutes our lives and affects our innocence. It also speaks for the freedom that exhibits itself in modesty - without vanity getting in the way of others seeing us as we really are. Most of us think of 'simple' as uncomplicated or free from that which gets us muddled up. This is true, but never truer than when 'simple' describes the need to not 'display' anything in our lives other than Christ and his grace.

While simple carries a little more 'complicated' meaning, is it possible 'plain' does as well? As a matter of fact, 'plain' might mean to us that something is kind of 'unflavored', but being plain in the sense God desires means we carry a much different flavor in our lives now that Christ is in it! We might be free of that stuff that impacts our purity in life, but we are also able to see things clearly because our lives are free of impediments that once obstructed the view. We find our perception is clearer and our minds are more open - they aren't as cluttered anymore. Plain might just be the way we would describe a life that is free of anything extravagant or 'pungent', but a plain life in Christ isn't 'flavorless' or without a sweet odor! In fact - we might just say is it something to be 'savored'!

All that meaning in two simple words. Break each down a little, and you will see a picture of the one whose life God can continually pour more of his power and grace into. Our passage today indicates that God is looking for the one who is willing to live above the guile or mess of this world (the insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity of character that is exhibited in so many who live without God in their lives). Those that do not need to be the center of attention attract the attention of God! Isn't it amazing how God works? Step out of the limelight and God shines his glory through you!

What does it mean to be free of complications in our lives - to be free of that which obstructs our view? It means that we don't complicate our lives with things that just keep us busy, not really producing anything of lasting value. I have a tendency to complicate my life with all kinds of things. It could be those relationships that don't bring any real value into my life (like hanging around with those that bring us into places of compromise in our choices). It could be those activities that take my time, but I am just using it to 'fill a spot'. Whatever it is that "clutters" our life - it acts as a obstruction or a complication in our spiritual walk. It keeps us from a clear view of God's plan and his purposes for our lives.

If you try listening to ten people talk all at one time, making requests of you to perform multiple different tasks simultaneously you will like not catch the absolute intention of each of the ten petitioners or the specific task they need accomplished! When our lives are free of clutter, it is easier to hear what is being said! Our hearts are more prone to respond when their is clarity in what we are hearing. We can "unclutter" our lives, but as with any other 'cleaning job', it takes some effort, but it is worth the effort! We might just begin to hear that still small voice of our God in the hidden recesses of all that clutter being moved out! Just sayin!