Forgive Us, Lord, For Making Life So Complicated

April 08, 2022

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33

The story goes that on his deathbed, Charles Spurgeon, said to some of his final visitors, “As time has passed on, my theology has grown more and more simple. It is simply this, ‘Jesus loves me!”‘”

Life with God and through Jesus is not meant to be complex. There is a blessed kind of simplicity for the Christian who is convinced of the providential love of God in Christ. You find glimpses of this kind of simplicity expressed in Scriptures like Psalm 27:4:

I have asked one thing from the Lord;
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord
and seeking him in his temple.

Don’t you long for that? 

In an age of seemingly endless complexity, to live simply in mind and heart? To not wake up with a thousand different things running through your mind? To be able to sleep soundly knowing that your heavenly Father never does? To know that God is for you in Christ, and because He is, you do not make it your business to stress your way through life?

The pursuit of simplicity starts and ends with the Gospel.

Unless we truly know there is nothing left to prove before God, because of the sacrifice of Jesus, then we will spend our lives in an endless pursuit of self-justification. 

Unless we know that God has fully loved us in Jesus, then we will spend our lives endlessly seeking to create our own opportunities for safety and advancement.

Unless we know that God is reigning over the affairs of the universe, no matter what our senses might tell us, then we will wring our hands in anxiety and worry. In the gospel, then, God guides us into simplicity. 

But we don’t only have the doorway to simplicity through the gospel; we have the example of true simplicity from Jesus Himself. 

Jesus, I think, made it His practice to simplify many things for His followers.

He simplified prayer for the disciples in Luke 11 when they observed His habit, again, of praying to the Father. Or when Jesus was confronted with the overly complex system of the law that had been added to and amended for hundreds of years and He simply summed up the entire law in a few sentences about loving God and our neighbor. Or the time when Jesus summed up the many complexities that add anxiety to our days like this:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33

This is all part of the good news of Jesus’ kingdom. It’s that we don’t have to be crushed by the complexities of the day. Indeed, part of following Jesus is actually returning again and again to the simple. Thank the Lord for that. Thank the Lord that life does not actually have to be as complicated as we seem to make it. That in reality, there are only a few things that we must know. There are just a few things that guide everything else. 

There are only a few things that we should – and even that we can – return to over and over again, chief among them is this: This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance:

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them (1 Timothy 1:15).

If you are feeling pressed in by the complexity of the world today, come back again to what and Who you know is true.

And breathe.

Written by Michael Kelley, Guest Contributor