|A continuing discussion of the Spiritual Disciplines|
Discipline of simplicity
DEFINED: The Discipline of simplicity is the freedom from a crowded, often contradictory life: Eccl. 7:30
Simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward expression:
Experiencing the inward reality liberates us iutwardly. Speech becomes truthful and honest. The lust for status and position is gone because we no longer need status and position. We cease from showy extravagance not on the grounds of being able to afford it, but on the grounds of principle. Our goods become available to others. We join the experience that Richard Byrd, after months alone in the barren Artic, recorded his journal, "I am learning … That a man can live profoundly without masses of things." Foster, pg. 80.
We find ourselves in a maze of competing entanglements. We worship the rags to riches story but have little use for the riches to rags realization.
In the OT, not absolute rights other than God. Lev. 25:23
Paul: I Tim 6:9; 3:3; 3:8; Eph. 5:5; I Cor. 5:11
Hebrews 13:5; James 4:12
THE BALANCE OF ADEQUATE PROVISION
- forced poverty is evil
- Extreme asceticism is unacceptable
- Creation is good and should be enjoyed
Asceticism renounces possessions but simplicity puts possessions in their proper perspective.
Asceticism finds contentment only when it is abased… Simplicity finds it contentment in either circumstance: Phil. 4:12
Simplicity is the tool for balance that keeps us poised to enjoy all that God has for us: Deut. 8:7-9; 8:17; Not an either-or, but a Yes to God.
As the most visible of the disciplines, most open to corruption. Living out simplicity difficult as it confronts legalism and our flesh. A life passage: Matthew 6: 25-33.
GUIDING PRINCIPLE: simplicity built around: priority of the kingdom if God;
- Perspective for it’s application in a confounded world.
- Not about giving to the poor; not about the redistribution of wealth, and not about just getting out of rhe mad pursuit of the cheese.
- At it’s core it is best represented by an inward trust
- A person living without things is no guarantee that he is living in simplicity.
Paul: the love of money… Often those who have it the least, love it the most…
What should free us from anxiety often traps us, therefore 3 attitudes to cultivate:
- If what we have is viewed as a gift…
- If what we have is to be cared for by God…
- If what we have is available to others,
Then, there is freedom from anxiety…
OUTWARD EXPRESSIONS OF SIMPLICITY: the risk? I Peter 3:3 Suggestions:
- Buy things fir their usefulness nor status
- Reject anything that contributes to addiction
- Develop the habit of giving things away
- Reject modern gadgetry
- Learn to enjoy without ownership
- A deeper appreciation of creation; Ps. 24:1
- Healthy skepticism at acquisition at all cost mentality: financing is not the cure-all.
- Plain, honest speech Matt. 5:37
- Reject everything that breeds oppression of others
- Shun everything that distracts us from kingdom of God