Are you looking for some simple goals?
Basic steps that are uncomplicated and do-able? Perhaps some general guidelines to keep you moving in the right direction?
Life has its share of complexity, and sometimes we make things more difficult and complicated than necessary.
That mistake can make moving forward a tougher climb than it was ever meant to be. With that in mind, there is a lot to be said for keeping it simple.
Precepts for Life
I remember a rather intense conversation I once had with a young agnostic. He was expressing his opinion that The Bible was a flawed book, filled with many inconsistencies.
I responded by saying, “Taken as a whole, I feel that the Bible is a remarkably consistent book — which is why I have made it the foundation for the entire direction of my life.”
Pushing back on my statement, he said: “Come on! You’re a smart man. Couldn’t you have come up with good ideas of how to conduct your life without The Bible’s help?”
I replied, “Fair enough. I probably could have. Even so, what if a young man like you is sincerely looking for some basic precepts to guide his life? The Bible can provide those.”
“Okay,” he said. “Give me one good example.” I decided to keep it simple.
What We Are to Do
A verse from the Old Testament immediately popped into my mind, and I recited it to him — Micah 6:8,
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does The LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
“What if a person were able to exhibit justice, kindness, and humility in every aspect of their lives? Wouldn’t this be a good goal? Can you find anything wrong with that?”
I honestly wasn’t trying to win an argument by quoting this verse. Much to the young man’s credit, however, he gave serious thought to what I had said.
Then, he offered this gracious reply: “No, I can’t find anything wrong with those traits. I see your point.”
With gratitude, I often reflect upon this conversation — and upon the truth of Micah 6:8, the verse that became the centerpiece of that discussion.
It is a remarkably simple, yet profound outline for three essential principles you and I should practice in our lives.
Perhaps we might want to focus on these three basic goals — making it our aim to be fair, merciful, and humble. That would amount to keeping it real simple.
Would there be any harm in making those three objectives our standard for behavior in every situation? (Of course, you and I already know that the “doing” part is a lot more challenging than the “saying” part.)
Even so, what might happen if we would allow these three principles to govern our actions?
Doing right; being kind; and staying humble — certainly not rocket science. But as we observed earlier, there is a lot to be said for keeping it simple.
A Good Reminder
In a message called, “Motivation for Living: To Do God’s Will,” Derek Prince emphasizes our need to maintain a single, simple focus.
He quotes from Philippians 3:14–15 about Paul’s goal to press on in obedience with his “one thing.”
Throughout this profound teaching about pursuing the will of God, Derek focuses on keeping it simple.
“Paul was a man with a single motive: ‘This one thing I do.’ I think at times Paul must have been difficult to live with. I think at times he might have been somewhat insensitive to his companions. It is obvious that when John Mark (the young man who started out with Paul and Barnabas) chickened out, Paul’s attitude at the time was not very charitable. It encourages me to know that many years later Paul said, ‘Bring John Mark with you, he is useful to the ministry.’ I believe it is to the credit of Barnabas that he didn’t abandon John Mark. So, I am not saying that the process is without its problems. I think any man with strong convictions is liable sometimes to walk over the toes of the people around him. But, nevertheless, I respect Paul’s determination: ‘This one thing I do.’
When Ruth and I have some decision to make, the moment it starts to get complicated as we are talking it over, I say, ‘I don’t feel good about this.’ I have a little saying which came from Corrie ten Boom: ‘K-I-S-S: Keep It Simple, Stupid.’ That is really one of my motivating determinations. I don’t want the issues to become so complicated that I can’t see what the will of God is. I believe in that kind of simplicity.”
Back to the Basics
I realize that the simplicity spoken of in this letter may be something you are already practicing in your life. If that is the case, please feel free to file this letter away for future reference or pass the message along to someone else.
Honestly, I carry a deep concern — one which each of us needs to examine regularly in our life and witness.
Have you and I done the best job we could in modeling fairness, kindness, and humility to the world around us?
Could it be that because of a lack of these Christ-like qualities among believers, some of our neighbors have been turned off from even considering the Christian faith?
Together, let’s bring this concern before The LORD right now:
Lord, as a first step, I repent before You for the many times I have not represented You well.
Instead of fairness, kindness, and humility, I have exhibited prejudice, unkindness, and pride toward the people around me.
Please forgive me, LORD.
I ask You to help me eliminate these ungodly tendencies from my behavior, and to conduct myself throughout 2021 in a way that will honor Your name, Lord Jesus.
You are the personification of justice, mercy, and humility — and I want to conduct myself in a way that pleases You.
I look to You, Lord, for the grace and help I need to keep it simple — and to reach out to others in the way You would want. Amen.
Building a Foundation
Even if you and I have been “doing pretty well” in the categories mentioned in this letter, it is always wise to ask for God’s further help.
Sometimes, change is a matter of adjusting our behavior. Other times, it comes from a better understanding of God’s Word.
We want to help in that second area. Derek Prince Ministries has a vast array of teaching resources from Derek Prince (i.e. sermons, podcasts, articles, devotions, books, and more) which will strengthen your Biblical foundation.
It is a blessing to be in contact with you, and we are honored to walk with you as you follow Jesus Christ. We send our deepest thanks for your prayers for this ministry, and for your financial support which makes our work possible. We are very grateful to you.
Goals for the New Year
If you have already set your own goals for the new year ahead, please feel free to proceed along those lines.
If, however, what we have shared has spoken to you in a basic, foundational way, we are grateful it may have helped you clarify your goals.
One truth is clear for all of us: we are surrounded by people like that young agnostic I mentioned earlier. Even if they may seem defiant and disagreeable, you and I know that there is a gnawing emptiness inside them that is yearning to be filled with the love of Jesus.
Wouldn’t it be a terrible loss if our misbehavior and unwillingness to walk in the ways of Jesus was one reason for them to distance themselves from The LORD?
It doesn’t need to happen. Let’s be part of the solution in the year ahead — starting by keeping it simple.