Monday, October 31, 2016

the complexity of simplicity

We like things simple, don't we?
We like our lives organized, clean, balanced, restful.
But we live a life that is far from simple.
I'm sure everyone of us can attest that at any given moment our lives can quickly become complicated and unsettled.
Our hearts can become discouraged, defeated.
In truth, keeping our eyes focused on Jesus is really much more complex than it seems.
Sometimes it seems more natural to look past God and use our energies stressing and planning over details of an immediate trial or burden.
However, when we do this, we begin to forget the "Who" of our eternity and focus only on the "what" of the moment.

So what's a girl to do?
How are we to embrace the life that we know God has planned for us to live fully... peacefully... simply, when most of the time we are running around afraid, unsure, unorganized, insecure?

Eve was the first woman to fall into such complexity.
I mean, think about it... Eve had EVERYTHING!
God had made her life perfect in the Garden of Eden.
The perfect home.
The perfect position.
The perfect surroundings.
The perfect man.
Today, we can only dream of such a balanced and enjoyable life.
But not Eve...

She lived her days enjoying intimate walks with her husband.
She used her time supporting Adam and helping him with the upkeep of the garden and the care of all animals.
Best yet, Eve experienced the happiness of God's presence first-hand.
She knew the contentment that the Lord provided, and was blessed with His generosity and love.
She had no concerns about finding the "storybook" life because hers was already complete.
She didn't stress over money, power, appearance, title.
She was secure.
She was happy.
Her life was simple, relaxed, beautiful.
God said Himself, it was all good.

So, how did Eve stumble into such a complex mess?
How did she shortchange herself of the abundant life God had initially designed?
How did Eve (and her husband, Adam) end up neck deep in a life-changing pile of poo that altered the entire course of human history?

The answer is this:
Eve didn't believe God's word.
Eve didn't obey God's commands.
Eve chose to look past God and sought significance through a false method of fulfillment.
Rather than embrace the truth of her Creator, Eve blatantly challenged His headship.
Eve lost sight of her purpose and sinned.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' " "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened..." (Genesis 3:1-6a)

Yes, Eve's eyes were opened... but not with the kind of wisdom she had hoped to attain.
Rather, Eve's eyes were opened to shame.
Her reality... her perfect set-up... it was no more.
She had chosen to disobey the Master.
She had believed the lies of a charming, crafty intruder.
She welcomed the opportunity to converse with the enemy.
She opened her heart and home to the very thing God could not and would not tolerate.
She went against her Creator's holy instruction and doubted His supreme authority.

Yes, Eve had sinned.
And not only did she sin, but she convinced her beloved husband (the man she adored and cherished) to throw away his birthright.
Eve's failure to believe and obey God cost her EVERYTHING.
And so for Eve, life got complicated really fast.

And they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Genesis 3:6b-13)

What have you done?
What have you been focusing on?
What choices have you made outside of God's will?
In short, where have you stopped believing God?
Where have you stopped obeying His commands?

Thankfully, Adam and Eve's story does not end here.
Thankfully, no matter how big a mess we humans choose (yes, choose), God still (amazingly) loves us. 
God shows up and provides a plan for each lost and dying person to be restored unto Him.
He proves faithful by introducing the life, death and resurrection of Jesus - the Savior... the Lord God Almighty in human form.
Unfortunately, man must still live with the ramifications of his sinful decision while living on earth.
We must endure the hardships brought by a ruthless enemy in order to grow spiritually mature in trusting and obeying our Master.
To accomplish this, we must follow Jesus, our Shepherd... believing only His word... obeying only His commands.
Look at what the Lord tells us in Psalms about the perfection and balance His people may know in Him...

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:7-14)

So, how can we live wisely and know peace?
The answer is, in itself, both simple and complex... for first and foremost we are now all sinners.
Thankfully, with Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can live redeemed! 

To experience His well-designed life, we must always believe God completely.
We must always obey His word without apology or question.
His ways are the only way to enjoy all that is good.
So, we must put on the identity of the One capable of saving us from all our messes.
We must adopt Jesus' plan as our own.
His Way becomes our way.
His holiness trumps our corruptness.
His love wins over our selfishness.

Because His law is PERFECT and REVIVES US!
He makes life SIMPLE!
His precepts are right and give us JOY!
His commands are RADIANT and provide us the LIGHT we need to step safely in His grace!
His Light guides our way!
His Light restores us into His presence again and again and again!
We must live disciplined and fixate our eyes upon the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIGHT of the world - always trusting Him to handle the distracting shadows of mishap.

Ladies, Satan wants nothing more than to keep us from knowing our great God.
Because God's perfect laws will indeed revive us and bring us into Jesus' holy, victorious presence!
Jesus is the answer to all our problems.
Jesus is the Way back home to God's perfect plan.
So, when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and life becomes complex, I encourage you to take time to remember the "Who" of your eternity rather than the "what" of the moment.
Bury yourself in His promises and look at yourself through your Creator's eyes. Here are some scriptures to get you started...

To God, I am...

The salt of the earth; the light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-14)
More valuable than birds. (Luke 12:24)
Already clean. (John 15:3)
The branches. (John 15:5)
Heirs of the prophets and of the covenant. (Acts 3:25)
Servants of the Most High. (Acts 16:17)
Called. (Romans 1:6-7)
God's temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Strong; Honored. (1 Corinthians 4:10)
A temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Part of the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Christ's ambassador. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Abraham's seed. (Galatians 3:28-29)
An heir. (Galatians 4:6-10)
Children of the promise. (Galatians 4:27-28)
Fellow citizens and members of God's household. (Ephesians 2:19)
Children of the light. (Ephesians 5:8)
A chosen people; a royal priesthood; a holy nation. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Daughters of Sarah. (1 Peter 3:6)

These truths should be studied and re-studied because when we meditate in God's truth and pray for his words and thoughts to become our words and thoughts, we are living a life pleasing in the sight of the Most High.
Trust me when I tell you that all other things in life pale in importance when we look at our purpose through the lens of eternity and focus our eyes on His authority and love.
God is always in control. 
His ways are higher than our own and always intended for our good.

So, what have you been doing?
What have you been focusing on?
What choices have you made outside of God's will?
In short, where have you stopped believing God?
Where have you stopped obeying His commands?

I encourage you to start focusing on the One who is here to save and restore your life.
Jesus is the answer to everything.
Let me say that again... JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO EVERYTHING!!!
Seek Him and He will make Himself known... in every trial, in every moment, in every place, in EVERYTHING.
Stop allowing the enemy to deceive you and complicate what should be simple.  

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." (Proverbs 3:5-8)



© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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