“When we truly live in interior simplicity, our whole appearance is more open, more natural. True simplicity … makes us aware of a certain openness, moderation, innocence, joy and serenity, which is delightful when we look closely and continuously, with pure eyes. Oh how lovely is this simplicity! Who will give me? I leave everything for her. She is the pearl of the Gospel” - Francois Fénelon
absence of complication.
"big s problem."
quality of what is simple, of what is not composed.
Simplicity is freedom. Simplicity brings joy and balance [full]
“God made man upright, and he seeks trouble without number.” Ecclesiastes 7:29, Jerusalem Bible.
The Christian Discipline of simplicity is an inner reality that results in an outer lifestyle. The attempt to demonstrate an outward lifestyle of simplicity without inner reality leads to fatal legalism.
Attachments to things take us away from this place of simplicity, when we don't have a reference in God, our need for security makes us have an INSANE attachment to things.
We crave things we don't need or enjoy. “We buy things we don't really want to impress people we don't like”
We need to wake up to the fact that conformity to a sick society means that we are sick.
We must object to the modern psychosis that defines people by how much they can produce or by what they earn.
Bible and Simplicity
“If your riches prosper, do not set your heart on them” - Psalm 62:10
“He who trusts in his riches will fall” - Proverbs 11:28
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will come to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” - Luke 16:13
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” - Matthew 6:21
“Now those who want to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many senseless and harmful lusts, which drown men in ruin and perdition” - 1. Timothy 6:9
“Let your life be without avarice. Be content with the things you have; for he hath said, ``I will by no means leave you, nor will I ever forsake you ´´” - 1. Timothy 6:9
Have you ever heard of asceticism?
The word asceticism comes from the practice of asceticism which is:
in Greek philosophy, a set of practices and disciplines characterized by austerity and self-control of body and spirit, which accompany and strengthen theoretical speculation in search of the truth.
in Christianity and in all the major religions, a set of austere practices, disciplined behavior and moral avoidance prescribed to the faithful, with a view to carrying out divine designs and sacred laws.
Asceticism renounces possessions and simplicity puts possessions in the right place.
Asceticism finds no place for a “land flowing with milk and honey”. Simplicity may rejoice in this gracious provision at the hand of God. Asceticism finds contentment only when it is humbled. Simplicity knows contentment in hardship as well as in abundance (Philippians 4:12)
Simplicity is the only thing that can adequately reorient our lives so that possessions are authentically enjoyed without destroying us.
Our point of support
Our reference is always in the bible, it is our point of support.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor as to your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, which neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you much more valuable than them? And which of you, with all his care, can add a cubit to his stature? And as for clothing, why are you solicitous? Look at the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither work nor spin; And I say to you that not even Solomon, in all his glory, was arrayed like any of these. For if God thus clothes the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we wear?
For all these things the Gentiles seek. Surely your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things; But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
The central point of the discipline of simplicity is to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness - and whatever is needed will come in its due order.
When the kingdom of God is truly put first, ecological concerns, the poor, the equitable distribution of wealth and many other things receive due attention.
The inner reality of simplicity involves a life of joyful unconcern with material possessions.
Freedom from anxiety is characterized by three inner attitudes:
1) If we receive what we have as a gift;
We live by grace, even when it comes to “our daily bread”. We depend on God for the simplest elements of life: air, water, sun. What we have is not the result of our labor, but of God's gracious care.
2) If what we have is taken care of by God;
Knowing that it is God's business, not ours, to take care of what we have.
3) Whether what we have is available to others;
Martin Luther said, "If our goods are not available to the community, they are stolen goods."
The outer expression of simplicity
When it comes to simplicity, we need to look at external aspects and not just internal issues. Soon, the liberating attitude of simplicity will affect our way of living.
Richard Foster presents 10 controlling principles for the outward expression of simplicity:
1) Buy things for their usefulness, not their “status” - stop trying to impress people;
2) Reject anything that is addicting you - refuse to be a slave to anything but God.
3) Get in the habit of giving things away - unpack. A lot of things that are not necessary complicate life.
4) Refuse to be overwhelmed by the propaganda of modern trinket makers.
5) Learn to enjoy things without owning them. Owning things is an obsession of our culture. If we have them, we think we can control them; and if we can control them, we feel they will give us greater pleasure.
6) Develop a deeper appreciation for creation - Simplicity means discovering once again that “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (Psalm 24:1)
7) Look with healthy skepticism to all “buy now, pay later” plans.
8) Obey Jesus' instructions about clear, honest language. “But let your word be: Yes, yes; no, no. Whatever happens to this, comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37)
9) Refuse everything that oppresses others.
10) Avoid anything that distracts you from your main goal.
“Lord, we pray that you will always give us the courage, wisdom and strength to keep the number one priority in our lives to “seek first your kingdom and your righteousness”, understanding all that this implies. To do so is to live in simplicity.”
Category: Spiritual Disciplines
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