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The Simplicity of Christ
by Tonja Taylor
12/31/2019 / Christian Living
The LORD answered my question immediately: “Take the emotion out of it and just do it."
And I understood. I had been vacillating in making a decision about whether or not to start my writing business. I knew this was a crucial time in history for us Last Days people, and I did not want to be out of His perfect will. I wanted simple direction to just do the right thing.
That simple but powerful advice has helped me in many more ways than business. My darling daughter, almost 18, and my husband, already having a cool spirit, are benefiting too.
The LORD is helping us to be aware when our emotions start to rise in a matter, especially if we’re surprised by a situation, and to capture them and submit them to the Word. We’re not perfect in this, but we’ve made much progress in just a few months.
Even ministry, where we are “doing things for God,” can distract us from developing that supreme relationship with our faithful Father. One of the enemy’s tactics is to wear out the people of God, even with ministry.
I respect the wisdom of a female minister I heard, who recently said on a radio program that if ministry activity was taking precedence over her intimacy with God, that the ministry would have to go.
We’ve heard lots of advice from the world about “Keep it simple, stupid.” My pastor also preached months ago on “Simplify so God can amplify. ‘
My family has benefited from cutting down on activities and thus on obligations, and living a life as uncomplicated as possible.
We allow our daughter to participate in a few church and school and community activities, but most evenings, she is home with us. She is home with us because my husband and I guard our time and are careful, even with our various ministries, to be at home with her and with each other.
We eat a simple dinner together (simple eating is another article), pray together, then are often in the family room together, where our daughter studies or plays her flute or keyboard or works on the computer, while my husband and I work on our computers.
Even if we are in different rooms, we are still in the house together, and speak to each other at least once an hour or so.
Another facet we’ve simplified is the information flow. There are so many technological things more, perhaps, than any other time in history, vying for our attention. Many of them are diabolically designed to keep us from getting to know God better.
Not that this works for everyone, but I have not had the television cable connected since January 1, 1998. Our lives are abundant, pleasantly busy, and we have not missed it.
We get sufficient news in very small doses from trusted sources, with a Christian worldview. We get weather forecasts on the web, if we decide to plan ahead, knowing that those reports are subject to change.
We do occasionally watch carefully screened web casts or movies. But overall, we spend our time talking to each other, reading, writing, and working on various other creative projects, in addition to ministering at our church and in the community.
We take occasional jaunts to regional places, and a vacation every summer. But although I minister on the phone and by computer, we don’t schedule outside ministry every week.
We do not consider our cell phones to be as necessary as our Bibles, nor as needed as organs in our bodies. We use them on occasion, and they are very convenient and even fun. But we keep them in the proper place.
Living the Christian life is simple, if you look at it right. Jesus is so easy to know--He has already died for us and is just waiting for us to ask Him to forgive us and be our faithful forever Friend and Savior and LORD!
It's when we try to reason things out--and I've been guilty of that, of course--and ignore His Word and gentle promptings that things can get hard. Degree by degree, if we ignore the loving, all-knowing Voice of the Holy Spirit, we can get really off track and experience difficulties that seem to make the Christian life hard.
But always know this: If our loving Daddy God planned for our lives to be hard, He would have never sent Jesus! JESUS did the hard thing, by taking ALL our lack and debt, sins and confusion, shame and sicknesses, and giving us FREEDOM and WHOLENESS and ABUNDANCE and PROTECTION and GUIDANCE and EASE! Amen!
We must trust Him. If we let our minds--reasoning--get in the way of accepting His truth, His ways, things will be hard. Reasoning involves pride, and just like when our children refuse to obey our instruction, or think they have a better way and can go around it, they often experience loss of blessings or worse. It's not our plan, but we are the authority figures, and they should obey us who truly love and care for them.
And, just like, when our children truly repent (and we know when they are sincere), the fellowship is restored, and usually, after possible consequences, the blessings are as well.
It's the same in our lives as adults. God's way is the best way, and when we just trust and obey Him, the Christian life gets much easier (Ask me how I know!)!
Besides spending daily time with Him in prayer and worship at church and home, and reading and speaking aloud His Word, which becomes more enjoyable as we discipline ourselves and fellowship with our loving Father, there are other ways I have found to make the Christian life more simple.
First is making sure you are not addicted to electronics or sports, relationships or other activities, that would come before your relationship with the LORD.
I do connect with people on Facebook, and I have email that I check almost daily. But I am not a slave to these things, and don’t spend much time on them.
Another way to practice simple living is to repent when He shows us something. Now I repent much more quickly than in the past, because my understanding of God’s goodness has increased, and my desire to please Him has too.
So, He gives me grace to simply understand and agree that He is right, knows all things, and loves me so much He wants to help me have a better life by getting rid of whatever I need to repent of.
Sometimes this involves forgiveness, which hasn't always been easy. But we are finding, as our pastor has preached, that it is wise to forgive quickly--and this is a place where taking the emotion out of it and just doing it works well--and not allow any root of bitterness to spring up.
I've spent years discovering and being delivered from bitterness, and I'm not about to let any more grow up and hinder me! So part of the simplicity of Christ is being quick to forgive--and better yet, to not ever take offense to start with.
Also, we have simplified our possessions. There is only so much time and energy that we have, and in these Last Days, they need to be channeled into expanding the Kingdom while still maintaining a proper balance of life.
The LORD continues (as He always will, for He can’t help His generous Self, and the more we sow, the more He gives us to sow!) to give us an abundance of material things, and we often go through our possession and see what we should pass on.
Sometimes, He has asked us to sow things we hadn’t planned to. But He is teaching us to simply obey, for everything is His. So this is another way we practice the simplicity of Christ.
Not all issues have been as easy to handle. But we’re learning the secret to keep even potentially difficult decisions simple: Talk to Him, then listen; seek His face in prayer and praise and the Word, listen for His gentle guidance, then obey.
If the answers aren’t as clear as we’d like them, we still keep it simple: Step out and trust Him to help and guide us, for He always has our best interest in mind and ever leads us in paths of righteousness. In other words, to just do it.
He knows our hearts are to please Him, and His mercy and faithfulness are everlasting as He helps us to do what's right--Or as He says simply, “Follow Me.”
Hebrews 13:8 -- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Genesis 15:6-- And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God).
Matthew 4:17-19 (Amplified Bible) -- From that time Jesus began to preach, crying out, Repent (change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. As He was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He noticed two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, throwing a dragnet into the sea, for they were fishermen. And He said to them, Come after Me [as disciples--letting Me be your Guide], follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men!
Tonja K. Taylor is the author of many works, including THE ADVENTURES OF PRINCESS PEARL, P.O.W.E.R.* Girl! series. She and her husband Clayton minister the Word through teaching, preaching, and the arts, through River Rain Creative Arts (You Tube, God Tube), their church, and beyond.
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