It was a common scene in my childhood: my mom cutting out tissue-thin sheets of a Simplicity pattern for a dress, jumper, culottes, or other fashion atrocity; pinning the pieces to the material; cutting out the pieces of fabric; and stitching them together. Her table was often strewn with clothing parts, as if she were a homemaking Frankenstein.
I don’t know why she made our clothes. Maybe we were too poor to buy store-bought dresses. Maybe, in her compulsion for us to match, when she couldn’t find three identical little dresses, she was forced to remedy the problem herself. Maybe she just wanted a good challenge, and the brand name Simplicity was too convincing to resist.
When I think of the word simplicity, I am reminded both of my mother’s patterns and 2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
According to Strong’s Concordance, simplicity in this context means “singleness, without folds, like a piece of cloth unfolded. Not compounded or over complicated (needlessly complex.)”
Does the word simplicity seem contrary to what you’ve come to think about Christ and His Word? If so, the “cloth” of your gospel may be a bit wadded up.
The ways of God are deep—but they aren’t cryptic. Boiled down to a theological compote, the Christian experience is a relationship between Christ and us. But sometimes we add things to that relationship, even good things, like service, family, work, and study—all things that can bring God glory, but if misused will divide our hearts, taking the focus off our relationship with Christ.
Just like God desires for us to have a simple focus in our faith, He means the same for our presentation of His message. Think of how simple (though not necessarily easy) the Scriptures are that tell us how to be saved and how to live.
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. . . . For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” ~Romans 10:9, 13
The first of all the commandments is: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. ~Mark 12:30
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments. ~Ecclesiastes 12:13
He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? ~Micah 6:8
In the verses around 2 Corinthians 11:3, Paul tells the church to watch for those who will come preaching a different gospel, distracting from a message focused simply on Jesus.
Do you know people who complicate the gospel by adding their –isms, their interpretations, their opinions and preferences? Many times these people are perpetually contentious to those who don’t believe the same way that they do. Be careful of those who try to make the gospel difficult.
If you find the fabric of your faith folded over—needlessly complex—go back to the simplest thing you know—go back to Jesus, His promises, His Word. Like my mom’s patterns, His simple gospel is just too convincing to resist.