KEY: Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with simplicity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God's grace. = II Corinthians 1:12
In 2017, Godly character traits like "simplicity" and "sincerity" are not so desired or cultivated as in the past. These are sometimes treated as signs of a lack of personal sophistication - even as signs of failure in personal maturity. Nevertheless, "simplicity" and "sincerity" are valuable character goals for the benefits that they can help us achieve, according to the Bible. They are also attributes of God and of Godly living on earth, according to honest experience. Moreover, in their best forms they do not rely on "worldly wisdom but on God's grace."
The LORD's living presence - in the full measure of the Divine Gospel and Grace - produces wonderful fruit in our lives. Consider these precious results and how they relate to God's gracious gifts of simplicity and sincerity:
LOVE = Jesus repeatedly taught that we should love God with all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our mind. The deep love of God unifies each of our selves - unifies every dimension of our selfhood, and brings all of those dimensions into one personal harmony. The deep love of God - God's love for us and our love for God - creates in us a priceless integrity, simplicity, sincerity.
JOY = Daily we each cope with numerous internal and external pressures, conflicts, disappointments, successes, uncertainties. Meaning for our lives is not found in even the most precious experiences or activities, but in a deep, simple, sincere trust in the living God and his amazing grace. That unshakable, sincere, simple trust is the radical source of our joy.
PEACE = Each us is surrounded by serious strife and conflicts - in our families, work, school, neighborhoods, politics, cities, nations, and more. We can also have dramatic conflicts within ourselves - whether those are raging internal conflicts or conflicts for which we have worked out "truces," temporary or otherwise. When by God's grace we can bring a deep, radical harmony into our lives- a personal, radical simplicity and sincerity - we will experience profound internal peace. Then in peace we will be also further equipped to labor fruitfully for peace in circumstances surrounding us.
Too often we have let "simplicity" represent "head in the sand" simple-mindedness, ignorance, or laziness. But as we can now see, the wonderful grace of God can redeem "simplicity." Perhaps it would be useful to make a distinction and to call this "grace-full simplicity," "graced simplicity," or "Godly simplicity."
May the LORD's amazing, abundant grace empower and draw every one of us to this graceful gift of profound Godly simplicity and sincerity.