The Radical Surrender Of Everything, Or The Simple Life
This is a continuation of the Proverbially Speaking project, which has been put on the back burner for awhile. OK, true, it didn’t turn out to be one Proverb per day for 31 days… Better late than never. So we commence once more with a focus from Proverbs 13.
“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7)
The “impression” coming across here is that spiritual riches come by way of self emptying, as is repeated, in so many words, in Proverbs 34:10 – “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”
God isn’t interested in what “good” we can do, or what strengths of ours we think He can use; He’s interested in our full surrender, so the Holy Spirit can make Jesus Lord of our minds, hearts, and lives – as He transforms and restores the image and likeness of our Heavenly Father Creator in us, and guides us Home.
Lord, let us ever be mindful of this!
There was the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18) who came to Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus reminds him of keeping the commandments, which he claims to have done his entire life. Yet there was that one thing more which the Lord asked of him: “Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” Jesus asked for full surrender. We know the sad end of that story.
Doesn’t sound like “easy believe-ism” or prosperity peddling, does it?
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24) The Way of Jesus is a radical way of life. It’s all or nothing. It’s very clear where the priorities must be. It’s radically simple and simply radical.
“But, Lord, I have bills to pay and kids to put through college!” We whine and try to wiggle our way out. We want them to have it all, don’t we, just like we do?
Jesus replies, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Jesus seems to add, “What you need for the Earth Mission has been take care of. All these things are what the ‘Gentiles’ seek, But here’s the way you are to approach life. Are you with Me or not?” He faces us with a rather either-or prospect. Simplicity or bust!
The Apostle Paul laments, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.” (Philippians 3:18,19)
The sons and daughters of God do not have the luxury of becoming entangled in the snares, cares, and riches of the world which has allurements designed to dismantle the entire reason why we’re here.
Sometimes I wonder if we’ve been convinced of the reality of what being a Christian actually means. It’s spooky; it’s supernatural; it may be more woo woo than we care to see. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
This isn’t psycho babble. We’re not playing games here. There can be no excess baggage if we’re to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) and bring Home as many of our brothers and sisters as we can in the process, while we “work out (y)our own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)
It seems like the perfect reason to jettison as much self-absorption cargo and as many non-essentials as possible, given the seriousness of our reason for being here.
Well, after all that seriousness about simplicity, maybe it’s a good idea to end on a lighter note. This old song probably wasn’t written with “spiritual” intent, yet seems to be dead on with our subject here. As new creations in Christ Jesus – whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light – we have a lot to rejoice about!
So here’s Mr. Bing Crosby and his 1946 rendition of Give Me The Simple Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTzudIVvUaM