I love the word “simplicity” and almost every aspect of it. There is one meaning that is nearly obscure today. The Noah Webster Dictionary of 1828 records that simplicity can refer to weakness of intellect; silliness. It is not entirely obscure because we hear the term “simpleton” used periodically and it is never a compliment.
In considering the etymology of the words simplicity and simpleton, both trace back to the word simple, one a negative trait and one – quite positive! THAT is the one I want to focus on today.
I attended church regularly throughout my early life. My understanding was that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that if I was good enough I would get to go to Heaven. No wonder I was confused. Eternal life is a gift (Romans 6:23)! I thought receiving the gift depended entirely upon my behavior. Consider that thought; consider that people all over the world believe this.
And yet, without understanding, I knew I’d never be good enough to earn that gift. I am thankful that we have a God that draws us to Himself. Through a Gospel tract, I learned of the simplicity that is in Christ. That phrase was not in the the tract, but I clearly understood, and by the grace of God, believed what I read. That is the first time I remember thinking, You need this for your life. I knew I’d read truth. The Spirit bore witness. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: Romans 8:16
Many years later, after I was married I was nearly stunned by the phrase I read, the simplicity that is in Christ. It was a “light bulb moment.” 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
This verse speaks of treachery and corruption of the truth of salvation! Satan endeavors to complicate the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Gospel. His attempts hinder many, but He has not won the victory. Those seeking will find Him. A final warning and encouragement in the Revelation: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 Beautiful. The victory was won 2000 years before I was born. On Calvary.
It really is quite simple, and reasonable. God gave His Son to be a worthy sacrifice. A sacrifice must be without a blemish or flaw. Jesus’ sacrifice was so perfect that it had the power to save the entire world, a gift for those that believe.
Only believe. How could something so wonderful be available for the “asking?” This belief is profoundly different than believing that your car will start when you turn the key, that the outfit you prepared to wear the next day will still be in good condition.
What is at stake here is eternity, simply for believing. How can it be? The value of the thing we believe in determines our level of belief, or our commitment to it. I do not simply believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of the world. The Bible says that the devil and his angels believe. It is a belief that touches me deeply and has an effect on decisions in this life.
There is one belief that is necessary to go to Heaven, for there is no other name in which salvation is. It is a heart belief. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:9
How simple is that? When I considered the words simplicity of the Gospel, my faith and love for the Gospel and Jesus Christ grew. His sacrifice so magnanimous, yet was freely given.
Only believe. Jesus showed the power of simple belief; simple faith. As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. Mark 5:36
Be not afraid; only believe. Simplicity and power. I say that the simplicity of the Gospel is where it holds its power.
- The power to save all, beginning that moment of belief.
- We are given eternal life, but wait! Don’t forget. Jesus has left The Comforter to live within us, the Holy Spirit to guide, to strengthen us. What a gift we often forget. As I write these words, my heart is smitten. Am I utilising the blessing that is the Holy Spirit of God that lives within me? Does my life reflect it? The simple answer is not to the extent possible.
- The struggles in my life need not be. I have the victory. I am a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3: 26) I am in Christ and never alone. Since the earthly death of my husband, this phrase has fresh meaning.
I am not going to stake my life on the belief that my well-maintained and reliable car is going to start tomorrow morning. My life is more valuable than a gamble, but when I consider the beauty and simplicity that is in Christ, given in the Gospel I will not trust my eternity to another. My Spirit bears witness. I know deeply that I have believed in the True One. That confidence has changed my life. I rest in my eternity; the victory is mine but the Spirit within me reminds me, lovingly, that I do not always live as a victor, then draws me back to a better path. Might I remember that I have freedom to choose my path, but not the power to choose the consequences.
God gave us the Gospel in the most famous, most often quoted Bible verse in all of Scripture. It is so widely quoted that its beauty and truth can be overlooked by its familiarity. John 3:16, but as you see from my Bible, I love the verses before and after this famous verse.
I have another favorite Bible word; it is consider and it is written in the text of the Bible 67 times, but you will find it written many more times in mine. The word is consider. I write this word beside passages that I need to consider more.
Just today I wrote this word below a verse that I want to consider more deeply.
The simplicity of the Gospel gives what the complexity of human wisdom promises, but never delivers. John McArthur
I do not think everyone that knows me would use the word “Simplicity” to describe my aesthetic, but I lean that way.
The appearance of simplicity at home can be developed by:
- Realising that you cannot or should not fill a home with everything you love. Choose what you love most and you will find a place to work it in. There is likely not one design style that I do not like. At one time, before marriage, my home was quite contemporary but not in a stark way. Some of the things from that “era” I still enjoy very much. I have a painting that I can only recall one other person commenting that they liked it.
Through the years my home developed into less structure, things that I liked, from many different style. Unifying characteristics that keep some semblance of simplicity is color. I love greens, rusts and ivories as predominant tones.
Another characteristic is that I don’t keep many things around that are not useful or beautiful to me. We need to curate our homes; it is part of the nesting process. if I make a purchase that I thought would be great in my home and it doesn’t work, I pass it along to someone else that would enjoy it. I do not do yard sales. Thought I’d throw that it; there is nothing simple about them and I find pleasure in giving things away that someone else will enjoy in their home.
Trying to keep a simple approach to your homes is worth the effort. Developing simplicity in routines, whether cooking or cleaning will reward you over and over. You know the life you need and should have a pretty good idea of what works for you. Trying to do everything will complicate simplicity. Complicated and simplicity might be oxy-morons. We learn simplicity, sometimes by making hard choices. When we are younger, we can accumulate too much, because we do not know what we really like. Sometimes we purchase because the price seems too hard to pass on. With age, we realise there is more pleasure than a bargain, hard as some are to resist. It is wonderful to live in a home that is not stuffed while having a few extra dollars in your wallet.
I encourage you to try new things, to learn what works for you. Learn what you enjoy most then stay steady with it. A little at a time I encourage you to consider your homes as a whole, then a section at a time. Your home is likely a reflection of who you are and I’ll defer to simplicity … most of the time.
A closing thought about my home comments today. Most of the world is happy to have a roof over their heads. We must remain thankful women that we can have a comfortable and beautiful place to call home, while looking outwards and remembering those that do not have that privilege. I know; I have seen it. I have seen it in other countries and I have seen it in America.
I hope you have a simply wonderful week!