September 14, 2016

The power of simplicity

In a book about the gospel and pluralism, I’m learning that revelation and reason are not on opposite sides in the argument about how we think about God. Even though the natural mind is not able to grasp spiritual realities using reason, when God reveals something, He also gives us the ability to reason out its meaning and application to our lives.

Today’s passage is about the necessity of both . . .

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. (2 Corinthians 11:1–6)

Satan deceives by making life and biblical faith complicated. A sincere and pure devotion to Christ is simple; trust Him like a child trusts her father simply because he is her father. In the beginning, this is enough.

However, life gets confusing and that childlike faith is not as easy for many of us. The trouble with reason, is in such situation thinking it out is usually useless. The best bet is to trust Him anyway, and just continue to obey Him. Amazingly, obedience brings clarity to the perplexities of life. I don’t need to muddle through trying to figure out what is happening, or why I’m in such a muddle. God shows His stuff to those who have the simple faith of a child, even when life becomes confusing . . .

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children . . . (Matthew 11:25)

Chambers picks this up and repeats it: “If there is something upon which God has put His pressure, obey in that matter, bring your imagination into captivity to the obedience of Christ with regard to it and everything will become as clear as daylight. The reasoning capacity comes afterwards, but we never see along that line, we see like children; when we try to be wise we see nothing.”

This blesses me for I’ve struggled with something for a time. In my determination to obey, I still felt like I was fighting through a fog. Chambers says the reason for the fog is because I was trying to reason out what God was doing with this battle, asking questions like: Why was I in it? How could I be victorious?

This week, God lifted the fog with a revelation that was astonishing. None of my reasoning would ever have produced such an answer. After that revelation, reasoning kicked in. I started to see how His workings were wise and suited to my needs. I am amazed, humbled, and filled with worship.

Chambers also says, “The tiniest thing we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is quite sufficient to account for spiritual muddle, and all the thinking we like to spend on it will never make it clear. Spiritual muddle is only made plain by obedience. Immediately we obey, we discern.”

He adds that this is humiliating. I agree. The harder I tried to figure out my problem, the more muddled I became. I realize now that all I needed to do was persist in obedience and, like a child, stop trying to figure it out. When that finally happened, the Holy Spirit gave me the insight needed to understand His will in the matter and be at peace — that peace that goes beyond understanding, maybe because it is so utterly  simple. 

1 comment:

Darrell said...

Good one, Elsie!

“Spiritual confusion can only be conquered through obedience. As soon as we obey, we have discernment. This is humiliating, because when we are confused we know that the reason lies in the state of our mind. But when our natural power of sight is devoted and submitted in obedience to the Holy Spirit, it becomes the very power by which we perceive God’s will, and our entire life is kept in simplicity.” – Chambers

“His ways are not like our ways, and His thoughts are not like our thoughts...” As we grow in maturity in Christ, we enjoy and benefit from becoming more like Him, but in this life, we never become so familiar to Him and His ways, that we have completeness and perfection in these. We still have tendencies that are bound by flesh—tendencies that must be brought under subjection to the Spirit. Our spirit-life will become one huge jumbled mess if we ever forget this, and become arrogant in our ways. One of Satan’s most cunning and effective tools is getting us to believe that we can hash out spiritual matters by any way, other than obedience to Christ. Don’t listen...Satan is always a liar!