Unspeakable Joy Devotional

17th July

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Keep It Simple. I am not sure how many of you watch rodeo. The Calgary Stampede just finished and there were many athletes that won the top prize of $100,000 in each event. The event of saddle bronc showcased three from the same family, the Wright brothers. Rusty Wright took home the $100,000 prize and when interviewed he was asked how his dad inspired him and he said my dad always says “keep it simple”. I have pondered those words and thought about how often we make things complicated. I’ve heard over the course of time in competition, many athletes have denoted to the same phrase. I think the same phrase can be said about our faith and trust in God. We make things complicated. Remember to keep it simple.

When it comes to following Jesus we need to remember two things: Love God and Love Others. One of the scribes in Jesus’ time wanted to know what the most important law was. Jesus’ reply was to keep it simple. Love God and Love Others. Mark 12:30-31 “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all they soul, and with all they mind, and with all they strength; this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Jesus knew to keep it simple. We can’t love Jesus and others half-heartedly. That comes off worse than if we didn’t love them at all. Our love needs to be with everything we have. What prevents that? Our love of ourselves. The enemy of agape love is self-love. Be warned; you cannot manufacture this love on your own. It has to be placed in you by the Holy Spirit. When we try to love others under our power, we will do well for awhile, but eventually, we will tire or get burned out. When we love out of the fruit of the Spirit, it is pure and tapped into a source that is renewable.

Keep it simple. Of course, that is easier said than done. Both of these commands force us to focus on others as much as we focus on ourselves. Loving God with everything we have will stretch us and force us to make changes. Loving others will take us out of our comfort zone in every way imaginable. While it is daunting the rewards on the other side are incredible.

In Matthew 18:2-5 “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”

A child is simple and uncomplicated, without the veneer that can make a person a bad actor instead of someone who is open and sincere. Jesus wants his followers to be like children, for he wants them to trust and depend upon him.

By the Holy Spirit, the Lord can keep us simple and trusting, followers of Christ without pretense, ready to do his bidding and be all he wants us to be.

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