“Simple”

For a newborn baby life is fairly simple—sleep, cry, eat, eliminate, repeat.  His/her parents tend to the complicated stuff like getting dressed and cleaning up the messes.  No one expects even simple tasks such as brushing teeth, combing hair, tying shoes, or eating with a spoon.  We use the term age appropriate to explain certain stages of development.  As the child grows physically and mentally we would no doubt see the child undertaking more and more difficult tasks.  Before too long some children start surpassing their parents in complex areas such as social media. Some areas are a matter of learning through practice and logic, others are genetic. (I never could wiggle my ears nor roll up my tongue.)

The inspired New Testament authors often refer to this spiritual growth from simple to complicated. When a person is immersed into Christ (Rom 6:3-6) (Gal 3:26-27) he/she begins a new spiritual life and needs basic simple nourishment like milk in order to grow up in their salvation (1 Pe 2:2).  As they mature (Eph 4:12-13) (Php 3:15) they should be able to ingest solid food which is sometimes meta-phorically called meat (1 Cor 3:2 KJV) (Heb 5:12 KJV).  A big part of this spiritual growth starts in the mind (Rom 12:2) then the new babe can begin to “test and approve what God’s will is…” One can then advance to using the spiritual gifts (meat) given by Christ —serving, teaching, contributing, showing mercy, etc. (Rom 12:5-8)

The unfortunate thing is that many cannot always see the simple even when it should be obvious, or it is dismissed because of the lack of desire or lack of commitment.  Jesus’ commands were simple—love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.

However, the implementation of these sometimes challenges the mature as well as the babes in the faith. Taking up one’s cross and following Jesus can turn a simple statement into a lifetime of service (Lk 14:27) (Mt 16:24) (Lk 9:23). Turning one’s self over to Christ is perhaps the hardest simple thing one can ever do (Mk 10:17-23).

–Jim Bailey