Have you ever invested in something you thought to be of value only to be disappointed by the return? I remember the first Christmas when Terry and I were newly married. We had the privilege and joy of decorating our own Christmas tree! As newlyweds, we did not have the collection of ornaments from 28 years of marriage that we have now. The tree was destined to be bare, and we would be scoffed as the scrooges of the apartment complex with a lame, miserably decorated tree. The ad in the Sunday paper was soon to resolve all our problems and the inevitable humiliation. 20 hand-painted wooden Christmas ornaments for only $3.95, plus shipping and handling! I anticipated with childhood Christmas glee as I tore open the box when they arrived. It was kind of a small box, I thought to myself. Much to my disappointment, the ornaments were scrawny pieces of wood with something like watercolor paint splashed over parts of the surface. I thought I found something of value. I felt horribly deceived!
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
That first Christmas, I got a glimpse of what Paul was trying to say. Many times I anticipate fulfillment in ministry, work or other projects. I get busy with a lot of good things. It is so easy to be deceived into thinking that other things, even good things, are of more value. I want to make it a priority this year to have a pure and simple devotion to Christ. I know I won’t be deceived or disappointed next year if I can look back at the investment in my relationship with God and see that there has been a great return.
Busyness is an enemy of simplicity. I continue some thoughts on Developing Your Relationship with God, spurred on by Chuck Swindoll’s book, “Intimacy with the Almighty”. The first of four decisions to pursue intimacy with God this year is to order our private world; this takes the discipline of Simplicity. Have you noticed that there is a great difference between restless leaders and restful leaders? If we don’t simplify, we will be unable to rest within. We will be unable to enter the deep, silent recesses of the heart where God connects with us. Chuck writes, “If we live very long in that condition, our hearts grow cold toward Christ and we become objects of seduction in a wayward world.”
What things have the potential to deceive you from a pure and simple devotion to Christ this year? Join the discussion and leave a comment.