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True simplicity

Minimalism and a simple lifestyle are popular philosophies in the modern world of materialism and busy complications. The effort seeks to do with less as a means of enjoying life more.

True simplicity may be enhanced by possessing fewer material goods, but the amount of possessions does not necessarily define it. It consists of a single focus. So says the Lord Jesus Christ.

No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a hidden place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, so that those who come in can see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is diseased, your body is full of darkness. Therefore see to it that the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part in the dark, it will be as full of light as when the light of a lamp shines on you, Luke 11.33-34 NET.

The healthy eye is the single eye. Not the state of the spiritual organ, but the singular focus defines its health. Biblical simplicity means a singular devotion to the one, true God. The eye cannot flit between God and money. The heart cannot be divided between God and greed.

Just as the single person is not divided in his devotion to God, 1 Corinthians 7.32-35, the single eye has but one loyalty, to the Lord Jesus Christ. While the former state is optional and was recommended by the apostle Paul in special circumstances, the singleness of the eye is a basic requirement for following Jesus.

The paraphrastic commentary entitled The Voice describes well the idea behind verse 34: “Listen, your eye, your outlook, the way you see is your lamp. If your way of seeing is functioning well, then your whole life will be enlightened. But if your way of seeing is darkened, then your life will be a dark, dark place.”

There is no place more miserable than the divided heart. No attempt is more misguided and frustrating than that of trying to hold to God and to something or someone else at the same time. Many a Sunday pew-sitter is anguished in soul because of divided loyalties, attempting to appease God while seeking satisfaction for passions and desires against God’s will.

Some social media sites have an option to describe one’s relationship: “It’s complicated.” The phrase well describes the darkened life of the unhealthy eye.

How to get from spiritual complication to true simplicity? By repudiation of all idols of the soul. By rejection of the attractions of the world. By refusing room to the temptations of the flesh. By repentance toward God, changing our ways, using all our time for him, using all our money for him, using all our words and thoughts and actions for him, delivering up all our relationships to his sovereignty.

When God is all, life is simple. Life is clean. Life is good. Life is forever.

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet.

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