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KJV and NKJV Scripture:

– But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3

– The Scriptures were not given to us to confuse us – but to instruct us.  Certainly God intends that we should believe His Word with all simplicity. – M.R. DeHaan

The word simplicity means easy to understand.  It is something comprehensible and not complicated; plain and not perplexing.  Even if it is a detailed process requiring expounding, a simplistic approach makes it much easier to keep things in correct order.  Spiritual simplicity is an existence free from guile or deceit.

Conversely, subtlety is difficulty in understanding, or making elusive or hard to detect.  It is employing deceit to subvert and achieve goals.  One intent of subtlety is to corrupt a process undetected as long as possible.  If someone finally does notice, it’s often too late to reverse or repair the damage already done.

The teachings of Jesus are always correct – but the teachings of the devil are always corrupt.  Satan is the deceiver of this world, the night and day accuser of man (Revelation 12:9-10), and the master of all confusion and illusion.  There is no truth in him (John 8:44), but he can make his lies seem very believable.

Christ’s yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30).  The devil’s yoke yanks Christians around in dozens of directions daily, often duping them into thinking every new fad or doctrine in the church is the proper one to follow. For a while at least, until they find out it all did not satisfy their spirit as advertised (Proverbs 27:20).

Still, Satan remains subtle but pernicious (2 Peter 2:2), a seductive and persistent presence.  Roaring around the world he is the prince of (John 14:30) – as a spiritual lion who does not sleep, seeking souls to devour.  Steadfast Christians in faith are not exempt from his devices (1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

Believers who mind earthly matters (Philippians 3:19) and remain entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), stay ensnared by Satan’s lies, blinding their minds in unbelief from ever seeing the simplicity of truth (2 Corinthians 4:4).  The devil isn’t alone.  He has angels of light and right to help (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Unstable, wavering, and straying Christians walk in the err of confusion with God (Ephesians 4:14, James 1:6-8,16, 2 Peter 3:17).  They remain influenced by Satan.  If they turn aside after him (1 Timothy 5:15), they are now unbelievers who’ve departed God, and often see Scripture as contradictory and inconsistent.

These fall prey to itching ears and unsound doctrine. Turning from the truth and swerving to words making it sound as if God should be serving them (2 Timothy 4:3-4, 1 Timothy 1:6-7, Luke 17:7-10).  They also pervert certain passages or verses just so they can justify living in the world much like they always have.

Never realizing Satan or one of his ministers could be preaching from the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12) or sitting in their pews (Revelation 2:13).  So, they continue on in disobedience and unbelief (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Peter 2:6-8).  Unsure of what God’s plan is for their life, and frequently doubting if there really is one.

So, they hatch their own plans, and do what is right in their own eyes (Proverbs 14:12).  Making things up to do in their mind (Numbers 16:28) – and hoping God doesn’t mind.  Then, they get confused after as to why things didn’t work together for good (Romans 8:28).  In turn, some simply stop doing anything.

As the lead verse indicates, there is a simplicity in Jesus clearly missing in today’s Christianity and the church.  Our Father is straightforward about many things, giving us commandments to humbly obey until death like Jesus (Philippians 2:8).  These are not recommendations, suggestions, or advice to consider.

This is all so we can keep moving steadily and straight ahead along heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14), if we desire to be made partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:14).  It is so we follow the process of repentance and do not fall away off course (Hebrews 6:4-6).  This gives place for Satan to set a new one (2 Peter 3:17).

God’s commandments only become confusing or unclear when they interfere with something else a person has already decided they are going to do in the world – or in the Word.  This is how false dreams or lying divinations start.  When people say “The Lord says” and He never spoke to them (Ezekiel 13:6-7).

Tony Khuon once said, “The goal of simplicity is to achieve the lowest amount of complexity – for the highest amount of fulfillment.”  God’s Word is full of simple sounding passages and verses about how He commands us to live as believers.  So our joy may be full, if fellowship truly is with Jesus (1 John 1:3-4).

For example, how to prove His will is found in Romans 12:1-2.  The key to happiness is found in Job 5:17 and Hebrews 12:5-11.  The way to enter His rest is found in Hebrews 4:9-10.  The pathway to a peace passing all understanding is found in Philippians 4:4-7.  And, Joshua 1:8 contains the only key to success.

All the above verses are clearly written and easy to understand.  There isn’t any doubt as to what God is talking about.  One cannot read them and then think, “I wonder what He really means by that?”  However, people with tendencies to over complicate matters in the world – are prone to do the same in the Word.

Unless they allow God to transform their minds daily towards His simple truths, they’ll stay conformed to the world’s way and keep on succumbing to Satan’s trickery (Romans 12:1-2).  They will see Christianity as complex, difficult, and thorny – and Jesus is not. It’s not why Christ wore a crown of thorns at Calvary.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– He who heeds the Word wisely shall find good – and whoever trusts in the Lord; happy is he. – Proverbs 16:20

– God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need success to be happy.  The man elated by success but cast down by failure is still a carnal man.  At best his fruit will have a worm in it. – A.W. Tozer

The world will give us 1,000-plus suggestions and solutions throughout our lives on how to become – and stay happy.  Some may seem to “work” for us – for various amounts of time.  A successful and strong marriage – or lots of bucks in our bank account – can deceive us into making that decision we are finally “happy” once and for all.  Until our worst fears are realized one day – when it goes away (Job 3:25).

Until perhaps – a person who swore up and down they would love you forever and never leave – gets up the very next morning and walks away without warning.  Or, maybe a major medical event drains life savings; money you may have set aside to enjoy retirement.  A once happy time has led to hardships, hurt, and heartache, and people start hunting for happiness all over again.  It can all be exhausting. 

This world’s ways to attain and maintain happiness are all quite cosmetic and conditional – contingent upon its motions and our emotions.  Trying to stay happy like this often puts us on a daily roller-coaster ride of highs and lows.  Somewhere on the straight and flat parts when we can breathe, we attempt to figure out if we are truly happy inside our hearts, or if saying such is just hollow words from our lips.

Empty souls lead to envy and covetousness (Titus 3:3, Luke 12:15).  We might see what someone else has in the way of possessions – or look at ways they are living – and it appears to be making them happy – so we try to follow suit.  Without us ever really knowing if they’re masking happiness with fake smiles and feigned words – but who are also still searching for lasting satisfaction inside (Proverbs 27:20).

God – and the ways of His Word to attain happiness are to provide us a continual and steady sense of contentment and happiness.  It’s internal, so this feeling should always stay the same, regardless of any external situation (Philippians 4:11).  All of God’s promises are yeses (2 Corinthians 1:20).  We truly can attain such happiness without it ever wavering; but it has to be achieved His way (Proverbs 1:7).

Happiness starts with heavenly discipline – and He assures all born again Christians (John 3:5) this will happen because of His love.  It will not seem joyous – and we won’t feel happy while it’s happening to us (Hebrews 12:6-11).  However, God’s intent is for us to yield all the peaceable fruits required to be brought forth in keeping with His commandment to repent (Matthew 3:8, Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30).

Therefore, “choosing” or “deciding” to be happy as a Christian is not the way it works – for such will lead to the same spiritual highs and lows this world’s way to happiness creates.  It puts us on a roller coaster ride full of sudden dips and rises in our faith.  Therefore, our road to lasting happiness begins with heavenly discipline – and we’re to be happy when God corrects us.  We’re not to despise His chastening (Job 5:17).

All of this daily discipline is designed to teach the patience God requires of us to endure until the end – and made partakers of Jesus Christ (James 5:11, Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 10:36).  This means our salvation.  We may have to endure many temptations and trials, depending on how much of our old worldly man God has to correct (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We are to count it all joy; regardless (James 1:2-4).

So, when we suffer for righteousness’ sake, we will be happy (1 Peter 3:14).  So, when we are reproached for the name of Christ, we’ll be happy (1 Peter 4:14). So, we learn to be happy having faith to ourselves (Romans 14:22).  So we do not turn Christianity into a competition – and a battle for happiness between believers – for such leads to every evil work before God (2 Corinthians 10:12, James 3:14-16).

If we are not continually happy as Christians, we have nowhere near the trust in God we may claim – nor are we really following in Christ’s steps (lead verse, Luke 6:46, 1 Peter 2:21).  Our happiness is still contingent on a constantly changing world.  It all usually hinges on whether life is basically going the way we want it to – or not at any given time – not upon a God who never changes (Malachi 3:6).

A.W Tozer, who wrote the lead quote above, once said that if we want to be happy as Christians, we have to be made holy from above – for this is God’s desire for us the second He draws us to the Cross (John 6:44, 1 Peter 1:16).  From this point on, we should be simply seeking to know – and to do His will each day (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 5:17) – and leaving it to Jesus the matter of how happy we are.

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