“On the near side of complexity is simplistic; on the far side of complexity is simple.”- Oliver Wendell Holmes
There is a story of an American businessman named Wilson, tired of the Great Depression, rising taxes, and the poverty of the worst economic downturn in modern history decided to sell his home and business in 1940 and move to an island in the Pacific. Balmy and ringed with beautiful beaches, the island seemed like paradise in comparison to what he left behind. Life he thought, would be grand and certainly a lot less complex. The island was Iwo Jima.
There are many stories like this throughout history of people who tried to avoid the complexities of life. What these stories illustrate is that life is messy; it does not fit in nice neat categories; and it cannot be explained easily. The fact is life can be complicated. Into such complexity, into such messiness, steps the Lord. He offers, not to remove us from the complexity, but to help us live in the midst of it, and even more, to help us be transformed so that we rise above it.
Jesus understands life’s complexities better than anyone. Jesus knew every day of our lives before we were born; He knew every disappointment, pain, and heartache. Jesus personally knew the complexities of this fallen world—He was tempted in every way, just as we are: “ This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Faith, however, is not complicated, people are. Faith is simple, love God and love others. The simpler your faith, the easier it will be to walk in it. “…and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NIV). The apostle Paul wrote, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV).
God’s word is simple, we are the ones who complicate it. We complicate it because we cannot believe it could be so simple. To grow in your faith is not through knowing more, but simply trusting more. It increases not by changing more, but by being willing to be changed more.
“For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
- Do you ever feel like following God is too hard?
- What can you do this week to make life less complicated spiritually?