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
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:
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:
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:
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
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:
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.
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.