Keep It Simple–Life is Complicated Enough

Yesterday, about mid-afternoon, I noticed that I was down.  Low.  Not real low, but low.  On a scale of one to ten, I was about a five. 


Now I don’t often notice these things right away.  But, for some reason I did yesterday.  I took a quick inventory of my thought world.  Hmmm. There were a couple of negative, troubling situations I had been dwelling on. It’s interesting that just being able to identify these and then put them in perspective actually helped the way I felt.  I think it was actually better to recognize what was behind a low feeling than to go throughout the day unaware.


Some people experience very little joy in their life with Jesus.   For some, that may be due to what is going on in their head regarding Jesus.  I wonder if some don’t feel burdened by it all, thinking that Jesus is basically measuring their lives against a list:  "101 Things Jesus Wants Done Today."  Of course, no matter how hard they try, they never measure up.  (But then there are people who do believe they measure up.  "We’ve got it right."  That is another story…)


Jesus once warned a group of people that their approach to God could be described as "straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel" (Matthew 23:24).  In other words, when they were about to eat their bowl of soup they became really concerned about a gnat in the soup.  In the meantime, a big hairy camel had his leg in the middle of the bowl.  They were ignoring what was big and obvious.


At this point, let’s stop.  Think about how you will live today.  Will you focus on the gnats or will you be attentive to what is much larger?  Will you focus on what is really important to Jesus today?  Jesus told the people of his day that they needed to be attentive to the "weightier matters of the law" such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matt. 23:23).  Earlier in the same book he spoke of the two most important commandments of the law:  Love God–Love People (Matt. 22:37-40). 


Right now, I am at my desk at home.  It is early morning and I am enjoying a cup of coffee.  Soon, I will begin to get ready for work.  First, I want to think about how I am going to approach the day.


Today, will I focus on the things Jesus said were most important?  Or, will I get bogged down with lesser matters?


A few suggestions:

• Don’t start with a list (101 Things Jesus Wants Me to Do Today).  Start with what is located at the center–the most important matters.

•Love God.  Love people.  Practice the weightier matters – justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

•Then, look at the rest of Scripture in light of these priorities.


Today, I don’t have to complicate life.  Life is complicated enough on its own.  I want to keep what is most important to Jesus front and center in my life.  He has enabled me through his Spirit to do anything he wants done, especially the things that are most important to him.   


Jesus has given me great clarity about what it means to live as a human being.  He has a way of simplifying what I want to complicate. 


I’m glad he’s in charge.


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10 thoughts on “Keep It Simple–Life is Complicated Enough

  1. I’m glad he’s in charge too! I work in a Christian Elementary School and my headmaster gave us this verse today…”He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 I just thought it was a cool connection to your posting…which a friend sent me. Thanks! I will be back to read more. 🙂

  2. Keeping it simple is so complicated! It means I don’t get to be in charge, I have to invite some quite space into my life, I have to just be still for a while and let God take up His central role in my life. It’s complicated because every bone in my body, every signal in my nervous system has been trained in an entirely different direction. But you’re right. Maybe one of these days I’ll find the grace to more easily settle down within myself, know God, and move in His rhythm.


  3. Jim,
    Yes … simple is better. Unfortunately, I am one of those people who, too often, pulls out the “Jesus To Do List”. Family, work, ministry, relationships, etc. all pulling for my attention. Sometimes it seems overwhelming and very complicated, but of course that’s me, not Jesus. Your words are alwways right on and encouraging.

  4. Hi!
    Just thought I’d leave my greetings, as I just found your site through a google search for an image to be used on a blog post of mine> (Also, if you’d rather I didn’t lift the image from you, just let me know.)

    A quick skim tells me I should revisit and read some of your entries when I have a chance…looks like good stuff!
    This post reminded me a bit of one I did recently too–it’s a bit long, but if you feel like giving it a read, here’s a link:
    God bless!!