Summary: Jesus simplified everything he touched. The Old Testament saints had ten commandments to guide them, but Jesus said you can simplify these ten, and reduce them to two. Love God with all your being, and your neighbor as yourself.
C. S. Lewis, the brilliant atheist who became one of the most famous Christians of the
20th century, said, "It is no good asking for a simple religion after all, real things are not
simple." Little did he realize, when he wrote those words in his early book, Mere
Christianity, just how true they were to become in his life. He was a middle aged
bachelor living with his bachelor brother, and both of them were scholars and authors.
Life was so simple and uncomplicated until Joy Davidmen came into it. Joy was a living
example of life's complexity. She was born into a Jewish home as a near genius. She was
reading history and philosophy at the age of 8, and like her father she became a atheist.
She got fed up with the American economic system during the depression in the 30's, and
joined the Communist party. She taught school, wrote books and scripts for Hollywood.
She got married and had two sons, and then she heard the Gospel and surrendered to
Christ. She became a devoted Christian, and immediately she used her skills to write
Christian books. She discovered C. S. Lewis, and fell in love with his writings. To make a
long story short, she eventually got to England, and met Lewis in person. They were two
brilliant former atheist who now loved Christ, and were writing books to tell the world of
their faith. They enjoyed each other immediately. When she returned to the United
States, and to alcoholic husband, there were problems. She fought for years to keep her
marriage together, but finally her Christians friends advised her to divorce him. She
did, and moved to England, and there her and Lewis had a romantic relationship for
three years. Life was still fairly simple, but then the British government sent her a letter
saying her permit to stay in England was expired, and she had to leave.
That is when Lewis realized he loved her and could not live without her. But the
Anglican church, of which he was a member, did not allow the remarriage of divorced
people. He was torn, and had to act, and so he married her secretly so she could stay in
England. They lived in their own homes separately. She kept her own name. It was very
complicated, and gossip began to grow as this 59 year old bachelor began to spend an
extraordinary amount of time visiting Joy. He pleaded with his church to be allowed to
marry her, but he was denied.
Joy discovered she had cancer, and was very soon on her death bed, but God spared
her long enough for them to have a beautiful honeymoon. They traveled to Ireland and
Greece. Then her cancer returned, and she died in her early 40's. C. S. Lewis was never
well after he lost her, and he died three years later in 1963. He was a brilliant godly man
who changed the course of history for millions, but he knew from his study, and from
experience, life is not simple.
Even though it is true that life can be complex, the common people heard Jesus gladly
because they knew what he was saying. Jesus had the gift of simplicity. He said, "love
thy neighbor," and not what the intellectual scholar might say, "Display empathy in a
psychic ethnocentricity." Jesus said, "Fear not, I have over come the world," and not,
"unlock your libido, the existential predicament has been transcended." With a little
thought Christians can be lifted beyond the reach of the masses, and be lost in the
complexity of language. Better have five words that people understand, says Paul, then
10 thousand in a tongue they can't understand. Simplicity is best, but Paul wrote that
because Christians were getting caught up in complexity. Paul knew that life was not
simple. Nevertheless, that is a goal to aim for.
A judge in Illinois issued an order that forced a patient to have a blood transfusion she
had refused on religious grounds. She lived because of it, and then sued the judge who
had saved her. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed, he had violated her first amendment
rights. He had saved her life, but he was reprimanded for violating her rights. Had he let
her die, he would have done no wrong-legally. Life is not simple. How can we reconcile
what we know about the reality of life's complexity with the emphasis of Jesus on
One of the dominant themes of Matthew 6 is on, success in simplicity. Do you want to
have a life well rewarded for your spiritual efforts in prayer, giving, and fasting? Jesus
says do not make it complicated by trying to please the masses. You only have to please
God, and so keep it secret, and keep it simple. Do not think you can snow God with