Life is simple.
It is. Life is not complicated. Life is not hard to figure out. I know, amazing statements given the complexities of our daily lives, but it is true. Notice I didn’t claim life was easy! And that, dear one, is the difference. But it amazes me how much I complicate life, my life. I complicate my life in all kinds of ways by assuming that life is not simple. But life is simple because God created life. In fact, He is Life Himself, and God is simple (again notice I did not say easy). God made Life, He IS life and His simplicity is woven into all of life. But we humans, ever seeking out that “secret shortcut” that “hidden benefit” that will get us to the front of the line, complicate life with all manner of delusions and excuses about “grey” in life that seems to excuse our habits of self-centered choices.
And it always makes things worse for us, and even those around us. Our excuse-making only proves all our “complications” are smokescreens to hide our own desires. Ugh! Time for confession!
But why do we complicate our lives so? Why do we seem to end up being our own worst enemy? Well, just look at the first man and his stumble. Our “immature” parents in the Garden, even though they had all the advantages, they exercised their freedom to deny what was plain before them. Their Creator loved them, provided for them, and all He asked was not to eat of one tree. But our parents chose to believe that God was not truly good; that He was hiding something from them, keeping something “good” from them, and they chose to “take matters in their own hands” thinking they were being shortchanged by their Maker. The rest is (a very sad) history.
Look at our Gospel Lesson today. It’s in Luke 11:23-26:
The Lord said, “He who is not with me is against me he who does not gather with me scatters. When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.”
Look at what the Lord said: “He who is not with me is against me he who does not gather with me scatters.” Simple. Not easy! But it makes perfect sense. The Author of life knows true life better than all of us, and He extends His hand in love to you and me and declares the simplicity of life in one phrase – Walk with Me and be free; walk by yourself and descend into the slavery of your desires. This constant invitation to freedom and fulfillment begins with (sometimes) a moment by moment choice, and exercise of my will to choose to stand with the Author of life. And in this communion, this intimate relationship, I am empowered by this closeness with my Creator to simplify my life to its most basic reality – Be with Him and be free. Choose to try this on my own and watch as the complications of life multiply and my life becomes barren like a desert and the end of my life is worse than the first.
Today, are there “desert places” in your life; places that are barren and dry without the joy of true life? It’s time to “water” those barren places with the wisdom of centuries of intimacy with the Lord Who loves you more than you, yourself, know how to love. It’s time to turn from the desert and return to the Source of the simple life of love and communion. That’s the life you were meant to live. That’s the life you were created to enjoy forever. There is no reason for your life to move from bad to worse. It’s time to turn, to change your mind, and embrace the “simple” life of Jesus Christ, to be Orthodox on Purpose.