I want to talk about how to remove our obstacles in spiritual life.
E.F. Schumacher is German statistician and economist who is best known for his proposals for human-scale, decentralized and appropriate technologies.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius ó and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
Moving in the opposite direction is the direction of God. The simplicity of God is stunningly beautiful. The poverty of God is powerful because when you look at it what helped God to flatten the mountains and straighten the crooked pathways is his ability to let go of power.
The genius of Apple founder Steve Jobs is his ability to vision beautiful designs, simple concepts, gadgets, computers, and software to work easily even for a child. Simplification is not easy, and it requires us to be renewed and revived.
According to Richard Rohr, a Franciscan Monk, “We need to unlearn a lot, it seems, to get back to that foundational life which is ‘hidden in God’ (Colossians 3:3). Yes, a transformation is often more about unlearning than learning, which is why the religious traditions call it ‘conversion’ or ‘repentance.”
There is an unlearning that we all need to be engaged in so that what is ahead of us can be seen with our naked eyes. God is transparent and here with us. But our complicated process of interpreting God among us makes it harder for us to see God among us.
When God removes the obstacles to see Jesus, the signs and wonders will tell us God is among us. The beauty of the passage is it is pointing us to God right ahead of us rather than a mythical understanding of Him. It is a mystical comprehension.
What happened in Israel at the time when John preached was a revival. People from all Judean countryside came out of their homes. They heard a voice that is simple, easy to understand and the message is lived out. Healing is straightforward and real.
What stops us from seeing Christ who is among us? In one story is that we look back too much on what happened in life to the extent we have no time to look forward as God may have in store for us. That was the mistake of Lot, whose wife turned into a pillar of salt in the middle of a desert because she was engrossed with her own need to look back into what was left behind. We all do it, and we all pay for it too. Genesis 19:26
Sometimes we carry too much junk around us from history, past, memories, concepts and more that straps us from anchoring ourselves in Christ. David did the same. David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them. David had to remove those swords and strappings to go forward and see where God is leading him. Even though those protections seemed the right thing to do, in wisdom those things that stop from seeing God ahead of us and getting to that God is a deterrent. 1 Samuel 17:39
There is too much rubbish we are carrying like the burden bearers of Israel. Judah says, there is too much rubbish so that we are unable to work on the building. We all carry much rubbish in life as well as in our hearts. The rubbish we carry are those material things as well as spiritual things. The burden of failure, the pride of success, the fear of loss, the anger of unforgiveness. The rubbish with us is too much for us to go forward. Nehemiah 4:10
There was a man who was wealthy. He came to the Lord asked what should he do to inherit the kingdom of God and the Lord answered. He had too many possessions, and therefore he didn’t want to leave them.
Jesus wanted to heal a lot of people, and so he went through Jerusalem. But he couldn’t do much because they had little faith.
Jesus was baffled by the fear of those around Lazarus, the man who was dead. They were wondering and arguing about who is going to roll away the stone. Who will roll away the fear? Who will step on the spot?
Misplaced priorities when the Lord calls. I have to bury my father and finish up some business, and the list goes on.
So in short Jesus is calling his followers to simplify their total life. Make it uncomplicated. Do some unlearning. We have learned too much to complicate ourselves.
We love children because they are not complicated.
We have revivals started by Bishop Curry. It is about uncomplicating the message of the Gospel. It is making straight the path and flattening the mountains. It is about making our faith simple, easy to understand and bring into the midst of people.
Spiritual revival is merely making faith uncomplicated. Easy to understand and practice. Spiritual revival why the people came out of their homes to see Jesus and John was because they made their spirituality easy to practice, simple to believe.
We have a job to do.
We have a decision to make.
Can we make our church uncomplicated?
Can we make our faith meaningful and practical?
Can we make our life simple?
Simplicity is addictive and life-giving. Poverty is freeing.