Throughout the Bible we are told that we must be simple, and yet in other places we are told that we should not be simple. So, which should we be? In 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul warns: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
Paul’s concern here was very plain and evident. He was contemplating that some of God’s people would become deceived by Satan. He also seemed to include in his statement the warning that we must not follow Satan’s lead by becoming crafty or deceitful. The only way to avoid this is to embrace in our lives the “simplicity that is in Christ.”
The world would have us believe that the more it creates, invents and teaches and the more complexity that is being achieved, the better our lives will become. Can we not see, though, that in spite of our “modern” advances, things are NOT getting better? In fact, things are deteriorating at an alarming rate. How can so many be blinded to this truth? We are called upon to simplify our complicated and complex lives.
Rather than being distracted by many things, we ought to concentrate on that which is needed. Martha “was distracted with much serving,” and she asked Christ to tell her sister Mary, who was listening to Christ’s words, to help her. But Christ answered: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40-42).
Proverbs 1:22 asks the question: “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?” The simplicity that is talked about here is the wrong kind of simplicity. Solomon is warning against being simple in an unwise way, without using godly understanding and wisdom. We are told that there is wisdom in God’s words, which give “understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). God’s knowledge shows us how to obtain Christ’s simplicity—while rejecting the worldly concepts of “simple-minded” people.
The right kind of simplicity brings on many connotations. Recently I heard someone explain that simplicity is about bringing order to complexity. Simplicity at its core means that a lot of thought and preparation has gone into something, so that in the end, it can result in simplicity and a concept which can be easily understood. God’s entire plan, which is outlined in the Bible, is really simple or straight-forward, if our eyes have been opened.
In Psalm 19:7-11, we see the effects of using the Bible as a living document. We understand that Godly wisdom makes “wise the simple.” With that kind of right simplicity of living, there is also peace and rest (Matthew 11: 28-30). Simplicity in Christ is the way of life that we should want to live. Rather than striving for complex things that are beyond our reach, we must learn instead to let God take the lead and teach us how to live in this world at this time. This is what it means to lead our lives with Christ’s simplicity in us.