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Christian Keep It Simple

November 01, 2015
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As Christian leaders, we have the gift of God’s written and inspired Word to help cleanse, guide, teach, mold, and inspire us to unimagined spiritual insight and understanding. It is only through the power of His Word that these things can be accomplished. There is nothing that we can add to our Christian journey outside of the grace of God that will exponentially impact or fundamentally change God’s plan and design for life here on this earth. While God has given man a free will, His will ultimately will be accomplished in our lives. Our human intellect, ingenuity, and creative genius (so we think) pales in comparison to the wisdom of our Alpha and Omega, the Creator God. We simply serve at the pleasure of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through our obedience. As we grow and yield to His calling in our lives, we do so not out of any selfish and fleshly motivation or advantage, but out of a heart that is willing to praise the name of our Lord.

If we truly believe that the statements in the above paragraph are true and that God is sovereign and in full and complete control, why then do we feel it necessary to help Him along the way? Why do we feel it necessary to add those extra-biblical and man-made exposes on issues that do nothing to edify the brethren or further the cause of Christ? Many times these exposes turn into prideful, intellectual, and dogmatic pursuits and debates that have no place in Christian learning, growth, and edification.

In this position paper, I will argue that even the most gifted and fortunate among us must communicate and “Keep It Simple” for maximum Christian impact. Knowledge can be a very dangerous thing when it is used to feed the flesh. Quite frankly, many human beings (Christians, Pastors, and myself included) have a natural propensity (the old man) toward self-aggrandizement and the “look what I have accomplished” style of leadership that needs to be called out, modified, and amended. Those among us with this predisposition operate with a strong sense of self and ego-drive that strives for ongoing acclamation and praise. These individuals will often land in doctrinal rabbit trails in order to satisfy those intellectual desires and pursuits. Intellectuals can fill volumes with extra-Biblical narratives and things that the Bible does not make clearly evident. These narratives and man-made arguments on the surface seem to make a whole lot of sense! They have a logical basis of thought, tell a nice story, and are flawlessly delivered. Unfortunately, there is no substance or depth, and the arguments are not sourced in absolute truth. They are simply opinions on subjects that can’t be supported with the Word of God. The Word of God warns us again and again about intellectualism in its most wretched and earthly form.     

Colossians 2:8 – “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

It is very clear from this verse in Colossians that we are to seek the message of Christ vs. traditional and man-made thoughts steeped in humanism. In this present day and age it is very easy for Christians to get lulled to sleep (and entertained for that matter) with intellectual thought and diversions that have nothing to do with the Bible. Yet, they are convinced their reasoning has Biblical origins.  

2 Timothy 2:14 – “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”                        

God is telling us in 2 Timothy that we should be focused on the critical doctrines in His Word and not arguing and debating about some individual words that have no spiritual value. He is reminding us that this type of discussion could undermine the authority of scripture and the intent of specific passages. We must keep a holistic perspective and understand the entirety of the Bible by comparing scripture with other portions of scripture. When we strive about words, often times we do so in order to “win” the conversation and further our own points of view on issues that are not directly relevant.

Romans 12:16 – “Be of the same mind one to another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”

In Romans, God reminds us that we need to relate to one another on even and similar plains. As one man put it long ago, “We are not to be so high and heavenly-minded that we are no earthly good.” In other words, we need to be able to relate to people on their level. We are not to put on “airs” along with any false modesty and pretense, but we are instructed to be real and genuine when we minister and relate to one another. We are not to be so caught up with peripheral and high-minded issues that our opinion of ourselves is much more than would adequately represent our current state………….that being filthy wretched sinners saved by the grace of God.  

2 Timothy 3:7 – “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”              

God points out that knowledge for knowledge sake is meaningless. Outside of the truth contained in His Word, it is nothing more than an intellectual exercise full of vanity. Enormous amounts of time and money can be spent learning useless and anecdotal bites of information that will not glorify our Savior. The Bible tells us that this form of learning is ongoing and that we never reach our desired ends. 

Psalm 73:8 – “They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.”

God examines the folly of wicked and foolish men. Not only do they speak wickedly, but they use high-minded, intellectual, and lofty reasoning to support their wicked and evil ways. 

2 Corinthians 1:12 – “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”

Here, God rebuffs intellectualism in favor of simplicity and godly sincerity. He is not interested in the thoughts and opinions of this world, rather He wants us to focus on and engage in spiritual conversations by the grace of God that will impact fellow believers. Conversations based on the wisdom of God and not the fleshly wisdom of man.  

It reminds me of one of the early and great missionaries from North America to the country of Burma (now Myanmar). Adoniram Judson was held up in the world’s eyes as a figure that was larger than life. As a missionary, he endured many trials and hardships for the cause of Christ. Yet, when he came back to America on furlough after more than forty years on the mission field, all he wanted to do was talk about the simple message of salvation based on the shed blood of Jesus Christ. For him, it was the simplicity of the gospel message that meant more to him than anything. Adoniram’s message and communication was not about him or his accomplishments, but squarely focused on the Savior.

On the other hand, studying the deep and profound truths of God’s Word can have immediate and lasting impact in our lives and can be extremely beneficial in our testimony to others. God encourages us to diligently study His Word and move from the milk of his word to strong meat. He expects us to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

1 Peter 2:2 – “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

God tells us that we should have a thirst for the knowledge of spiritual things in His Word so that we can grow. However, as we have learned previously it is not the kind of growth we get from high and lofty thinking, but from the sincere milk of the Word of God. Growth that comes from the simplicity and sincerity of the gospel message of Christ.

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

We are to be workman by studying the doctrinal issues that will be pleasing to God. We are to do this in an approach to His Word that is orderly and consistent with understanding the whole counsel of God. Only then can we move to a point in life where we can lead and teach others.

Some would argue that this approach doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. They would ask, “Are you saying the Bible can be the only source of enjoyment and inspiration?” If so, they would be missing the entire point of this article. There are many other intellectual pursuits outside of scripture that bring us enjoyment. For example, history, literature, mathematics, and other academic areas are full of opportunities to broaden our thinking. However, if we are searching for the true meaning of life, it is the Word of God that will give us the answers and show us the way to salvation. If we get so caught up and consumed with those other areas of interest where the important things of the Lord disappear, our focus then becomes misguided.   

 

Let us summarize the main points of this position paper.

  • Outside of the instruction in God’s Word, the intellectual pursuits of meaningless facts, figures, philosophies, and man-made wisdom after the tradition of men is vanity and useless for spiritual growth.

  • God encourages us to diligently and rigorously explore the learning, instruction, and counsel found in His Word.

  • As Christian leaders in the army of God, we should learn to simplify the messaging to fellow believers in ways that are clearly relatable to others. Christ was our example here. He used parables to simplify deep spiritual concepts into bites of information that we could understand. No matter how gifted one may be or what educational level they may have obtained, Christians should learn to “Keep It Simple” for the edification of fellow believers and the furtherance of the kingdom of God. We must learn to wade through and understand the issues of complexity, synthesize and simplify key concepts, and then be able to relate and teach them to others in a child-like simplicity. We do this in a Christ-like manner. Praise God!

Lastly, we can and should enjoy outside interests as long as they do not become obsessions and the only focal points in our lives.   


Comments

Michael LaPierre November 11, 2015 @ 11:17PM
Amen!

Jean LaPierre (MOM) November 7, 2015 @ 11:22AM
Loving the Lord and one another is simple enough, Amen?

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