Simplicity and Purity


Do you ever get the feeling that your life is too complicated or too busy?  If you do you can downsize.  Or you can be downsized.  It is the one who does the downsizing, and the goal of the downsizing, that makes all the difference!

May I suggest that the way to begin downsizing is to ask why your life is oversized to begin with.  It will do no good to downsize if you are still afflicted with whatever caused you to become oversized in the first place.  Was it pride?  Was it the desire to be important?  Was it the desire to impress someone else?

There are a variety of reasons and causes for the oversized or overactive condition, but I suspect that all reasons and causes stem from the same root.

Years ago I came across an under-quoted passage in one of the Apostle Paul's letters.  It can be found in 2 Corinthians chapter 11:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ.

I note several keys of the Kingdom of God in this passage.

First, Simplicity and purity which are toward Christ are good things to be attained somehow;

Second, there is an evil influence at work which, or who, uses the corruption of our minds to keep us from the desirable simplicity and purity of life which are 'toward Christ'.

THE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM

There are two approaches I see to remedy this circumstance of lacking simplicity and purity which are toward Christ.  The most common path traveled by anyone wanting to attain simplicity and purity is taking control of ourselves and pruning what appears to be excess and impurity in the hope that simplicity and purity alone will remain.  But that depends upon our own understanding of what is excess and impure, and on our willpower to get rid of these contaminants.

The path less traveled seems to be asking our Heavenly Father to prune us of whatever is corrupt in our lives, and to graft us securely into Jesus so that He can impart into us His simplicity and purity of life.  Father, after all, is the Happy Farmer Who prunes the branches of the True Vine in order that they bring forth abundant fruit:

John 15:1-2  Jesus said to his disciples: I am the True Vine, and My Father is The Gardener. He cuts away every branch of Mine that doesn't produce fruit. But He trims clean every branch that does produce fruit, so that it will produce even more fruit.

This path less traveled is in keeping with my favorite prayer:

Heb 13:20-21  Now may the God of peace, who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good to do his will, accomplishing in us what pleases him through Jesus, the Messiah. To him be glory forever and ever! Amen.

Let God choose what we need to do His will, and let Him work in each and every one of us that which is pleasing in His sight.  In the process you can expect Him to work out of you and me that which is not pleasing to Him.

I find this dual working - that of purifying and equipping - in the charge that God gave to the prophet Jeremiah:

Jer 1:9-10  And Jehovah put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And Jehovah said to me, Behold, I have put My Words in your mouth.  Behold! I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Notice that Jeremiah was to clear the land before building and planting. This is also what the Prophet John the Baptist was doing by calling the people of Israel to repentance - preparing the way of the Lord.

But the church, in its carnal wisdom, fails to call people to repentance.  It just calls people to 'faith'.  And the church does not call people out of the pride and selfishness and control and rebellion of the world.  It just teaches people part-truths.  For example I recently heard a pastor teach that God wants to be our Father, and quoted part of a verse of Scripture to prove his assertion:  2 Cor 6:18  and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

When I called his attention to the rest of the verse which he had quoted he thought about it for a second and then proceeded as if no one had asked a question.  The whole passage is this:

2 Cor 6:14-18  Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness?  And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."  Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
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We cannot become simple and pure unless we ask the Lord to help us to be simplified and purified in our hearts and minds, and vessels of His humble, loving, holy presence to those who live in darkness.