The Power of Simplicity in Christ

canotreesThe last few weeks have been intense.  Hmm, OK, intense is a dramatic understatement.

Between my own health hurtles and helping my folks navigate theirs, it has been a nonstop medical merry-go-round of specialists and hospitals, of navigating stormy diagnoses and mitigating medical side effects.  I’m shocked to see the horrific quality of over processed non-food served to patients in our local hospital.  So much so I got permission to bring home cooked meals and fresh vege/fruit juice to a close family member who is having to stay over a few days there. How can ANYone get better on food that has had the nutrition modified and processed right out of it?

So it is back to my Africa days of meal delivery to family in the hospital.  That is just what love does.  Period.  Love looks like something here just as it did there.  Some days love looks like hand delivered nutritious kale tonic (kale, apple, lemon & cucumber juice) and running medical interference to make sure the best course of action is being followed.

It is simple. Really simple. But we so often make it complicated.  It doesn’t have to be.

Over the last few years, I’ve watched a preponderance of teaching creep in at the edges of some streams of the Body under the banner of the prophetic and try to arrest her gaze and draw it to focus on things that are peripheral at best and straight-up deception at worst.

I believe in the prophetic.  My whole walk with Jesus has been shaped by profound prophetic encounters with Him. I’ve even had some really strange out of the box experiences spiritually.  So I am not negating genuine Jesus-centered encounters- even ones that seem weird or out of our theological boxes.  God is really big and equally creative.  Please hear me there.

But I have been in settings where the instruction very intentionally pulls the focus off of Jesus and draws it into complicated systems of “heavenly legal protocol”, laborious methods of spiritually cleansing DNA or super obscure marginal biblical references to things like “the nephilim”.  And I have seen first hand people in these settings get so confused and tormented, they began to doubt if their relationship with Jesus was enough.  In one particular event, I spent most of my time in between certain sessions having covert God set-up run-ins to counsel, encourage and break fear off participants from the previous session’s content.  That is just not OK.  At all.

Rev 19:10 makes things pretty clear, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  If the spirit of a prophetic insight, revelation, teaching or experience doesn’t point to Jesus or reference His heart or character, proceed with caution.  Jesus said the Kingdom comes to little children.  I have never seen a loved five year old stressed out over issues of legal protocol.

Are there elements of Kingdom protocol?  Absolutely.  But they are simply centered in a love relationship with Jesus not elaborate ceremony, structure or systems.  Does our generational line or DNA need cleansing and restoration?  Definitely.  But it doesn’t center around a herculean effort in prayer that we tediously perform hours a day weeks on end.  It centers around what Jesus has already paid for and accomplished on the cross.  It’s simple a matter of receiving by faith and thanksgiving what He has already done.  Again, it is all about Him and His work, not our works.

As for peripheral, obscure references of giants and nephilim taking center stage, I am well sure if I ever run into one Jesus will know exactly what to do. And He’s WAY bigger than they are so I’m not in the least concerned.  Beyond that, I am too busy falling in love with Him over and over again to let anything that isn’t centered in Him steal my gaze.

When I really need clarity from all the noise of different voices and views, I unplug and go find a quiet wooded cathedral of trees where all creation is groaning for Jesus to be revealed in us.  There in the stillness and the silence as I sit with Him, what is muddy becomes clear and I am embraced by the calm assurance He is ALWAYS enough.

Sitting under some trees with Jesus recently, I was thinking about all of this and He reminded me of the passage in 2 Cor 11:3.

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. {NKJV}

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. {NASB}

When I dug a little deeper this verse becomes even more relevant to this conversation.  Here’s my extended translation from some of the original language used:

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived (seduced wholly) Eve by his craftiness (trickery, subtlety, false wisdom that is superficially plausible but misleading in appearance and ultimately wrong), your perceptions and purpose (mind and thoughts) may be led away and corrupted from (shriveled, withered away, be defiled from) the simplicity (singleness, purity and openness of heart) that is in Christ.

I’m sharing this, not in any way to say we need to shrink back from pursuing all that Jesus has for us in every way He chooses to reveal Himself and move in our midst.  Never.  Instead, I want to run headlong into Jesus’ embrace more everyday until all I am is hidden in all He is.  I want to be hungrier for Him and His Kingdom more today than I was yesterday.  I want to walk with Him in such a way that the reality of His heart and of the Kingdom of heaven breaks forth every place I go.

You too?  May I pray for you?

Jesus, if anyone reading this has gotten entangled with peripheral, confusing or harmful teachings that don’t lead deeper into You but rather to a place spiritually they no longer wish to be, would You please recenter and refocus their gaze?  Please cut them free from any heaviness or confusion attached so they can freely embrace and be embraced by Your beauty, grace and the fullness of Who You are.  We love You and are always amazed by Your love!  Amen.