If you know me, you’re probably wondering what I’m doing writing about simplicity. I have the ability to make even the minutiae seem paramount. However, once you’ve spent a few nights in your car and had to eke out a month’s mortgage with amongst creeping various other costs, you gain a little perspective. You begin to understand what really is essential and what’s extraneous. Even the boy who loves complication for complication’s sake begins to appreciate the beauty and necessity of simplicity. And I see the application to faith.
“No unbelief made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was ‘counted to him as righteousness.’” — Romans 4:20–22
Faith was always simplicity
Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness. That’s it. Abraham had faith, therefore he was seen as righteous before God. Faith is righteousness. Faith is salvation. There is nothing more complicated about it. And Abraham goes to show that it never was. Faith is pure simplicity.
Jesus is the king of simplicity
Look at all of Jesus’ quotes in the Bible. You’ll see He didn’t answer questions with diatribes. He didn’t sit down and talk for hours on end. All but John 14–16 are answers typically a couple lines, but no more than a couple minutes of dialogue. To Simon and Andrew, He merely says, “Follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men.” (Mark 1:17) To the man who asks the greatest commandment, Jesus simply answers to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Simplicity! There is nothing complicated, convoluted here. Nothing.
We are simplicity averse
Complication gives us control over the circumstances. If we can add obstacles, hoops and impediments, we make it harder on ourselves, but ultimately we know how to make it through. We create ‘if’s, ‘but’s, ‘and’s, ‘or’s, and for what? We complicate, but to what end? We convolute, but for what purpose? Even the uneducated in Jesus’ day (long before public education or widespread literacy) understood faith. It can’t be nearly as complicated as we make it today. Faith is the simplicity of believing. Faith isn’t a denomination. Faith isn’t a formula or a recipe. Faith isn’t your translation of the Bible or your devotional. It is believing with every fiber of your being. Faith is the simplicity of living in and through that belief, every breath, every thought.
We have taken faith and overcomplicated it, only serving to water it down. Faith today bears the same simplicity as that of Abraham and all the saints. Faith isn’t complicated. It never was and was never meant to be. However, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to complicate it, only serving to suffocate ourselves in the process. Faith is believing, nothing more. Faith is a life spent shaping, understanding, living that belief. If we want to exert our energy somewhere, it needs to be there. It needs to be faith, pure, unadulterated faith.