When we looked at houses in the summer we had to keep track of several at one time: “The one near South St. has a nice yard…The one on Pine Lake is close to work…The one on Sewell has a lot of character.” When someone looks for a job or person to marry it can be a worrisome process too. But, when you land on one house, one spouse and one job you are free. You don't have to think about any other houses, potential spouses or jobs...
We have one God too - only one God and one path to focus on. It simplifies life to have one of something. But, just because it’s simpler doesn’t mean it’s easier, because we unnecessarily complicate our lives. Here’s an example…
A couple days ago I sat down with a National Geographic as I turned the TV and opened Facebook on my phone. I put myself in a predicament. I was divided. I was not free to focus on one thing, because I had three going. Options are more limiting than freeing. I should have done away with two things so I could focus on one. This principle applies to spiritual single-mindedness too.
Not being single-minded is what got humanity into trouble in the first place. And it keeps getting us in trouble. We have one God (one master), not many, yet we let ourselves be mastered by many things, so then how can we focus on God who is one? It’s hard. We fail, but we may be more capable than we give ourselves credit for, because the power of God is in us.
In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster wrote, “Everything hinges upon maintaining the “first” thing first…The central point of the Discipline of simplicity is to seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness of his kingdom first and then everything necessary will come in its proper place…Simplicity is freedom. Duplicity is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance. Duplicity brings anxiety and fear.”
I’ve experienced this. I know it’s true. Duplicity messes with our souls. It screws up our minds. It ruins our lives. It makes us forget who we are. But, duplicity is the way of our culture – we think more is better. We think options guarantee freedom. We don’t want to be boxed in. We complicate our lives more than simplify them.
Foster wrote, “Soren Kierkegaard captured the nucleus of Christian simplicity well in the profound title of his book, Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing.” Kierkegaard wrote, “If thou art absolutely obedient to God, then there is no ambiguity in thee and…thou art mere simplicity before God."
There is happiness and liberty, but only in one - only in simplicity.