"Simplicity is freedom."
Such a simple statement and yet, so very profound. It could almost be considered complex. One would think that living a life of simplicity would be exactly that; simple. And the truth is, it should be simple. As human beings, we were created to be true and upright; plain and simple. But, as human beings, we have made a complicated mess of things.
It started in The Garden.
In the very beginning, God created mankind in His very own image. And, because God made us in His very own image, He made us perfect. The very first man and woman, created in God's perfect image, walked around The Garden in simple perfection; in perfect simplicity. Those two, holy people, had perfect relationship with God. It was what God created them for in the first place. They walked with Him, and talked with Him, and worked in The Garden, and lived a life of holy simplicity.
For a time.
But the serpent, in all his jealous cunning, lied to them, and deceived them into believing that God was holding out on them. And in that moment, the beauty of The Garden they had been living in, their perfect relationship with God, and the joy they'd been experiencing in their simple freedom, was no longer enough for them. They wanted to know what it was they thought God was holding back from them. They chose to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and their eyes were opened. They saw what was never intended for them to see. Their desire for more lead to disobedience, and the resulting consequence had them removed eternally from The Garden. The simple life they had known and loved had been stripped away from them because they decided that everything that God had given to them, wasn't enough.
When I look at this, it literally blows my mind. How on earth, and in that perfect Garden, in perfect relationship with God, could Adam and Eve ever have believed that they needed more than what they already had? They literally traded a perfect, simple life of freedom, for a life of complexity and bondage. But then again, upon reflection, I suppose I really shouldn't be all that surprised. After all, I too, have traded a life of simple freedom for one of complicated bondage.
A. W. Tozer, in his book, The Pursuit Of God, states,
"Every age has it's own characteristics.
Right now, we are in an age of religious complexity.
The simplicity, which is Christ, is rarely found among us.
In it's stead are programs, methods, organizations
and a world of nervous activities, which occupy time and attention,
but can never satisfy the soul."
What I find most fascinating about this quote is that it was written in the year 1948. That's 72 years ago. Let that sink in a little. If religious complexity was an issue 72 years ago, how much more of an issue will it be for us, now? We live in a fast paced, self-seeking, self-serving, consumeristic society that has deluded us, betrayed us, lulled us into complacency, and stripped away our freedom. It holds us captive in distrust, fear, anxiety, hopelessness and the belief that we do not need God. This, I believe, is the ultimate deception. Because without God, there is no freedom. Without God, there is only bondage.
Simplicity is freedom. It brings joy and balance. It is fully realized, only in relationship with Christ. Duplicity (doubleness of mind) is bondage. It brings anxiety and fear. Looking around our world today, it's not hard to see where the vast majority of human beings dwell. I see very little true joy, balance and freedom, and I see much anxiety, fear and bondage.
Because mankind was created in the image of God, the only way we can experience true freedom, is by living in communion with Him. But, like Adam and Eve, we have been deceived into believing that He is not enough. We have fallen out of relationship with Him. We have allowed the temptations of this world to lure us further and further away from our Savior, and the consequences have left us with an all-consuming void. We try to fill that emptiness with what the world tells us we need. Bigger houses. Better vehicles. Designer clothing. More toys. More alcohol. More extracurricular activities. We grade our value on how we appear to the outside world. Busy is a state of mind we wear like a badge. It's staggering to me, how we've traded perfect freedom for bondage....... how I, have traded perfect freedom for bondage.
But I choose not to dwell in bondage a moment longer.
I'm choosing freedom now; the freedom of simplicity. Simplicity gives us the space we need to discover, or perhaps, re-discover, the joy that can only be found in relationship with Christ. The things of this earth can never, fully satisfy. But relationship with Jesus? Well, nothing else could even come close.