Monday, April 9, 2012

Keeping It Simple...

On the way home from a trip to India yesterday, I had some time to read. I actually vacillated between two books: "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine and "The Pursuit of God" by A. W. Tozer. Both are very different in focus and outlook. Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" was published during the American revolution and presented a popular case for American independence and freedom of rule from the British Empire. Tozer's "The Pursuit of God" is of course a devotional classic written for any follower of Jesus Christ hungering and thirsting for God. However, I noticed a common thread between the two and it revolved around the idea of simplicity.

In our quest of pursuing God, Tozer states, "If we would find God amid all the religious externals we must first determine to find Him, and then proceed in the way of simplicity." For, he postulates, "When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself."

Paine, on the other hand writes about freedom and choice of government. He actually is writing against the tyrannical form (according to him) of the current English monarchy and parliament system of his time. It is also to encourage a new age of freedom and self-determination that he sees in the American colonies in their struggle for independence.

Paine also invokes the idea of simplicity by pointing to the principles found in nature. He says, "...the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered, and the easier repaired when disordered;..."

When all is said and done, our efforts to see "God's kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is really rather a simple process. We load ourselves down with theology, missiology and all kinds of other "ologies" when in simple, plain truth, we need more to focus on God Himself. I have always liked to describe myself as a "theophilus" rather than a "theologian": a lover of God over a studier of God. In truth, if our theology does not cause us to fall more in love with God, then we should definitely change our theology.

The call to simplicity, a single-eye, focusing on God Himself, is a call to freedom. Focusing on anything else in this life - honor, fame, success - even in religious and well-meaning efforts, leads to bondage.

"Keeping it simple" means to simply focus on God. In the midst of the hectic swirl and pace of life, when pressures and trials abound, keeping our eyes fixed on the author and perfecter of our faith is the simple answer.

We "seek the kingdom" when in actuality we seek the King.

2 comments:

  1. Ian Sterling - KBC DRApril 9, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    I am currently reading Jesus: A Biography by a Believer - Paul Johnson. I am constantly drawn to Jesus himself and his ministry. Since being saved in 2004 on DR I have tended to focus on that aspect of the Christian faith almost to the exclusion of everything else except Paul, whom I love to read about and study .. both from a religious and a historical perspective. It seems to me that the process of being a good Christian is both simple and straightforward ... know Jesus and his ministry intimately ... and then go forth and do your best. That's just my personal point of view ...

    ReplyDelete