This one has been on my mind the last couple of weeks, at least since I worked the Emmaus Walk, and it might very well end up a “two-parter”. And no, I’m not talking about the band Kiss, nor am I talking about the song popularized by Prince back in the 90’s (of which I can do a frighteningly spot on rendition, I might add). No, I’m talking about the acronym K-I-S-S…KEEP IT SIMPLE STOOPID.
While on this walk, I overheard a pilgrim or two, no different than my own walk, make mention of the fact that Emmaus was essentially Christianity 101 or a call back to the basics. This wasn’t an indictment of Emmaus, nor was it a, “Cheese Whiz this is a boring waste of time” type of quote. (They were quite enjoying themselves and the experience when this was said) It was merely an observation and a fairly accurate one at that. As I alluded to earlier, this was something that I had heard on my own walk, but this time it struck me in a powerful way. However, I must back up a just a little bit.
I’ve been leading a twelve week course on spiritual warfare at my church and in initially reading the curriculum, I was struck by how basic it was. It’s based on Ephesians 6:10-17, and the course essentially details what it means to wear each piece of the armor. Good stuff, but very simple. My concern initially was that people would be disappointed that it was basic. People generally have a very distinct picture of what spiritual warfare means in their head, which typically doesn’t fit with the “basics”. With that said, people also have a very distinct picture of me, which also doesn’t quite jive with the simplicity of the study. Matter of fact, I had a couple people come up to me initially and say, “You’re really going to teach that? Seems a little tame for you.” I dunno, I guess people expected me to feature live exorcisms or live demon wrestling as part of the practical application portion of each lesson. And I won’t lie, that would’ve been awfully cool, but then again…How often does spiritual warfare resemble these things? I think that’s part of the effectiveness and brilliance of Satan’s warfare, it is subtle, at times gentle, and more times than not, very, very basic and very, very simple.
So how does this tie into the story from Emmaus and my spiritual warfare class? I think as Christians, we sometimes get lost in the details, we get lost in trying to make things bigger or more complicated than they really are. We tend to lose sight of the most basic tenets of our faith...KEEP IT SIMPLE STOOPID.
God is not a complicated God, nor is He a God who is hiding from us. He wants us to find Him and He wants us to know Him. He’s not going to hide Himself in endless theological and philosophical arguments (although they most certainly have their place…they’re just not God’s hiding place) God wants the path to Him to be simple. The beauty of God and our faith is found in their simplicity, which is why I absolutely love this scripture from Matthew 18:
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
It always amazes me that whenever you spend any time around a group of children you’re usually hit with some pretty profound truths hidden in their simplicity. We would do well not only to take lessons from them, but also to model our faith after theirs.
But there’s more…Look at all the silly arguments we as Christians get into with each other over doctrine and interpretation even amongst our own denominations. We’ll argue over anything and everything, while completely missing the point…
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."
Pretty simple huh? When you get right down to it, what more is there? For emphasis, I would also throw in a little James:
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
Love God and allow Him to transform your life. If you love God, you will not only read His Word, but you will also live it. You will love your neighbor. Your love and faith in God will compel you to take an active role. You will be compelled to serve God and your neighbor.
Simple huh? In my humble opinion, our faith and our roles as Christians can be summed up with that short paragraph. No arguments. No questions of Pre-Trib, Post-Trib, whether there’s a rapture or not, whether being dunked, sprinkled, or flicked is enough, and a million others. Love God, love your neighbor, and be transformed.
Now, we did have a pretty good discussion about the simplicity of it all in my spiritual warfare class, but not everyone was totally buying it, which is why there will be a second part upcoming….
It’s a Marathon, not a Sprint….
Simply and Basically Cantankerous,