I remember the day many years ago when I was introduced to the universal remote.
Maybe you remember the days when, sitting down to watch a movie, you took your shoes off, kicked back, took a deep breath, ready to relax and then you’re suddenly barraged with remote after remote. One for the TV. One for the DVD player. One for the speakers. One for… well, you couldn’t remember what that one was for, but you had it nearby just in case. And then you went through a complicated system of button-pushing, hoping to remember all the codes and orders and settings and then, after 10 minutes, to finally start the movie.
And then the universal remote. One remote to rule them all. One thing that controlled everything else. It was like heaven opened and the beautiful light of simplicity shone through the darkness of complexity.
I’m sure there have been other moments like that for you, just as there have been for me. It’s the moment when you’re trying to sift through a myriad of issues or instructions or regulations and then you suddenly come upon a new way – a different way – that allows you to cut through all the bureaucracy and red tape and get straight to the point. And once again, it’s beautiful.
In an increasingly complex world, we look for moments like that. We will even pay for moments like that. To find a simpler way. A straight way.
And if you can keep that feeling of beautiful simplicity in your mind for a moment, consider this:
The way of sin is infinitely more complicated than the way of righteousness. Here are just a few examples:
Let’s say that you tell someone a lie. Regardless of how you justify doing so, it’s still a sin. And once you have chosen that road, things get more complicated because you will probably have to tell another lie in order to cover the first one. Soon you’re trying to keep up with different versions of different stories you’ve told different people, and all your interactions, feelings, and conversations become much more complicated. It would have been so much simpler to just tell the truth, even if it was painful. The way of righteousness was much simpler.
Or take the issue of gender identification. The way of God is simple – there are two genders, not assigned, but created. Simple. But when we, as a culture, begin to drift from that simple way, everything becomes more complicated. We have to deal with driver’s licenses, forms, sports, and a myriad of other issues, when the way of righteousness was, and is, infinitely simpler.
God is orderly. His creation is orderly. And when you get down to the core of it all, the way of truth? Of holiness? Of godliness? That way is simple, not complicated:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Tim. 1:15).
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 33).
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple (Ps. 27:4).
Perhaps the simplicity of God’s design and direction is even an apologetic for the truth of the faith. It is, actually, the simplest way to live. The simplest way to think. The simplest way to be. It is when we begin to tinker with this design and direction that we find complexity after complexity added to life.
When we look around, then, and find that life seems too complicated; when we desire to have a simple way forward; when we, as we all will, come to the end of the rope of complexity that our sin has created for us, then let us return to the simplest way of all. And we will find relief not only in the forgiveness, not only in the grace, not only in the mercy of God, but in His beautiful, endless, straightforward simplicity.