< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: A Place Called Simplicity - Conclusion

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Place Called Simplicity - Conclusion

How do we actually start this journey to simplicity? Realistically we are complex people living in a complex world. The apple has been eaten, the garden gates are closed and at any given time chaos is closing in on all sides!

In order to change, we have to start on the inside. Paul reminded us in Colossians that we who follow Christ have died to the outward attempts of the world to conform us.

Our first step into simplicity isn’t so much to start working on it as it is to slow down. Find time to be alone with the Lord. To just be still and allow Him to quiet our inner being. Isaiah 30:15 says, For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength." But you were not willing,

Only in quietness can our minds be renewed. We can stop thinking about all the chaos and focus in the One who is perfect peace. Simplicity is a person. And His name is Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is life itself! If we seek Him first, everything else will be added. We don’t just put Jesus on our to-do list though. He is in every part of our lives. Always. If He’s in the center, then our lives are balanced.

As we grow willing to come into the quiet and spend time with the Lord, we will find ourselves drawn into an ever deepening relationship with Him. A bigger awareness of His presence all around us.

Jesus is first of all God above us. He is a fully functioning part of the Creator God who was here from the foundation of the World. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

He is the great, exalted One to whom God has given all power and authority and under whose feet God has put all things. That’s from 1 Corinthians 15:24, 27. And He is the one who sits at the right hand of God. Revelation 3:21 says, “”To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

We have to understand His greatness. We have to understand our need.

Oswald Chambers said, “I cannot enter His Kingdom as a good man or woman. I can only enter it as a complete pauper.”

He is above us, but He’s also Emmanuel – with us and among us. He didn’t just stay up in the heavens. He drew near. He came down to us. The Creator entered His own creation and lived among His creatures. He became a Brother, a Neighbor and a Friend.

And He is also in us. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

We are the lamp – He is the light.
We are the glove – He is the hand.
We are the containers – temples to contain His glory. Vessels to contain the new works of His Spirit.

We were not made to be gods, like some New Agers will try to tell us, we were meant to contain God. That’s how His work continues on the earth.

The reason our lives are so hard is every morning we get up and try to do God’s job, calling all the shots, trying to do everything our way, making all the hard decisions on our own. Instead of letting Him take charge.

When I was reading this chapter I suddenly thought that maybe one of the reasons God allows trials in our lives is because when we hit bottom, we finally give up and turn to Him, and finally feel His presence, which has been there all along.

There’s serenity in a surrendered life. What a gift!

Do we have to wait until we’re desperate before we’ll trust Him? No! The serenity of a surrendered life is available to us every day – good days or bad.

When we are tired of trying to be good enough and strong enough and together enough…when we are ready to stop striving and just receive the gift…Jesus is there. Our job is simply to believe that He is who the Bible says He is: the only begotten Son of God the Father, who is at one with God Himself. Our job is to believe He will do what He promised us He’ll do: save us and give us a new and more abundant life. And then we yield. We surrender. We admit to Him we can’t do it by ourselves and we just want to live the life He’s calling us to live.

To the extent that we will let Him, He really will come and live out His life in us.

Then we will be thinking with a Spirit mind and living with a spirit love. And the life He gives us will last forever.

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