Perhaps you’re not too young to remember the famous Toy-R-Us slogan. Can you recall it off the top? Sing along now!
“I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys-R-Us kid.
They got millions of toys at Toys-R-Us that I can play with!”
Unfortunately, the giant toy distributor went bankrupt and closed its 800 stores in the US … but brief online research shows that have indeed started fresh with new stores and are gradually expanding. Perhaps the epic jingle that branded kids for 2 generations can make a comeback? We’ll have to wait and see!
There’s much to say about not wanting to ‘grow up’ isn’t there? Being an adult can be difficult and demanding! Even after the frantic holiday season, there still seems to be a lot going on. Think back about what most childhoods, and possibly yours, have in common:
- Fewer responsibilities
- Do not have to pay bills!
- Less worry and anxiety
- A pure heart and an innocence unrivaled as an adult
- A sense of joy in the tiniest of things
Ah, the good ol’ days!
While in my pursuit of fewer distractions for 2020 (see https://nathancherney.com/new-wineskins), what automatically arose was the idea of ‘simplicity’ – the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded. Distractions bring messiness, confusion, and complications. It’s not enough to solely attempt to rid myself of the distractions, but to simplify my life in how I process and life live. I want to live life extraordinarily, yet ironically, that means intentionally living life with simplicity.
This is where the idea of being a child comes in. Children are simple. They are learning and growing, but are only capable of acquiring certain information, skills, and abilities at their formative stage.
Jesus used the illustration of children to make several points about being ‘childlike’ and here is one to underline simplicity for us:
And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” – Luke 18:15-17
In order to enter the Kingdom, one has to have the mindset of a child…
A realization that we are completely dependent on Christ
An admittance that we need His help for our needs
An inclination that is automatically set to trust
Therefore, living a life of simplicity requires that I analyze how I think and act in light of what the Bible says. Even when it comes to following God, the command is pretty simple isn’t it?
Mark 12:29-31 – “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Love God, love others. Simple right? Well, as you know from experience… easier said than done!
Yet does it have to be? Have we made being a follower of Christ too complicated? Perhaps there is the notion that…
- Focusing on needing to understand a degree of theology before feeling qualified to serve
- The simplicity of the Gospel seems too elementary to continue to learn
- Planning so much on the details that the purpose and point of Christ gets overshadowed and undermined
- The Good News couldn’t be that easy to have!
Paul challenged the church of Corinth to continue in their sincere pursuit of Christ and to not be misled: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). The Corinthian church was disillusioned by false doctrine and had an arrogant view on the gift of tongues leading them away from their true calling – to love God and to love others.
When we are distracted from pursuing all that the Lord has for us, life gets pretty complicated. We try to do too much. We get tired and burnt out. We get apathetic towards our primary calling as disciples and focus on other things that seem good, but are peripheral. It’s time to simplify!
Here are some questions for you in your pursuit of more of Christ:
- How can you have more of ‘childlike’ faith? What is the connection between how a child thinks and acts as one who lives life with simplicity?
- Are their areas of your life that you’d like to simplify? What are they?
- What is God teaching you about the ‘simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ?’
Have a blessed week!