26 June 2017
Reading: Jonah 1-4; 2 Timothy 2
14 Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. 15 Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. 16 Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, 17 they accumulate as poison in the soul. (2 Timothy 2:14-17 MSG)
“Jesus died for our sins, Jesus was buried, Jesus rose again from the dead. It’s what you’ve heard from me all along…” This is an important part of Paul’s “Famous Last Words” letter to Timothy dealing with keeping it simple. Keep the main thing the main thing. Repeat the basic essentials over and over to God’s people.
The human tendency is toward complexity. The simplicity of truth you can live easily gets lost in the complexity of “deeper revelation” and “spiritual speculation.” Whether it’s human pride that thinks superior knowledge is the most important thing, or whether it’s off-the-charts experiences that feed a craving for excitement, it’s way too easy to lose the plot. Paul says pious nitpicking chips away at the (simplicity of) faith and just wears everyone out, and pious words that are not backed by a godly life accumulate as poison in the soul!
Paul, I’m with you on this. I hear your admonition, and it encourages me to reaffirm my life-long commitment to “keep it simple.” I want to live it before I try to teach it. I want to find practical ways to repeat the basic essentials over and over to God’s people.
Father, Please renew in me the passion and zeal for the basic essentials of our common faith in Jesus Christ, our relationship with you, and our commitment to the community of your people. Help me to find the most effective ways to emphasize over and over the basic essentials of the life of faith. Help me keep it simple. Amen.