Simply Complicated

Those who try to simplify life and those who try to complicate life undermine their need for obedient reaction to God’s requirements. Life is neither simple nor complex. To assign an all-encompassing adjective is to suggest that life is predictable and I think most of us would say that is not the case.

My biggest fear is that I will underestimate the complexities of the things I face every day.

I can be an over-planner. I am often prepared for outcomes and obstacles that are almost impossible. I make Santa look relaxed; I’ve made my list and I’ve checked it twice six times. That list includes backup items to backup items that backup the items I need. On top of that I may have added a few things that I may need to complete a job I am not doing. I have taken the Boy Scout motto to a level that boarders on mental illness, I am so prepared that I can single handedly put down any zombie apocalypse without it affecting the original job I set out to do.

My second biggest fear is people who simplify the things we need to face every day.

They may have assessed the situation correctly. I have to admit not everything is as complex as I seem to think it is, but still, what if there is a zombie apocalypse, who will they be thanking for their complicated approach to everyday things after I save them? The truth is as much as I over prepare others are underprepared. In the end we both can’t predict everything, meaning we will both find ourselves failing at one time or another.

Different situations require different approaches.

I think sometimes we all need to be like me. Other times we all need to be the opposite of me. There are even times we need to be a cross between me and the opposite of me. To believe that my planning, or what many would call over planning, is needed for every situation in life is wrong no matter how much I object. To believe that life requires little or no planning in every situation is also wrong no matter how much others might object. You can drive yourself crazy by overcomplicating a plan but you can also drive yourself crazy trying to play catch up because you oversimplified plan.

The biggest danger is when we overcomplicate or oversimplify life.

Most of the time, if we oversimplify we can recover by spending a little more time after we start and if we overcomplicate we lose nothing but the extra time we spent before we started. When it comes to life, its meaning and our position as created beings, we run the risk of approaching it from appoint of simplicity or complexity. Our relationship with God as well as our relationship to God can be oversimplified or overcomplicated leading to behaviours that distance us from God.

Oversimplicity tends to lessen personal responsibility.

For some it is easier to say, “There is nothing but grace, no personal responsibility, no change in lifestyle or behaviour, no requirements to grow just plain old grace. Do what you want because God has this covered.”

…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:17 (NIV)

Overcomplexity tends to elevate works.

For some it is easier to say, “You need to figure out what exactly God asks you to do and do it. Your actions and the fulfillment of your faith, your increased knowledge of biblical texts and depth of study make you worthy of receiving favour from God.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

Life is not predictable so living out our faith cannot be simplified or made complex.

We do not apply some complicated formula to earn grace and we do not live some simplistic carefree life because we have grace.

Sometimes God will ask us to simply rest. We must do no more to live out our faith. Other times God will ask us to do things that are complex and beyond our understanding. We must do no less because of our faith.

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