"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" Matthew 6:33
Ok, so this is my second try at this.............I timed out on my first one, didn't save everything, and lost it all. That means this one will be shorter, more to the point because I don't want that happening again.
Here was the working definition we reached yesterday - "Simplicity is the opposite of duplicity; it is about one thing, not about two." (if you didn't get to hear the message on Simplicity, and the heart attitudes that it develops, then please go to the "Messages" portion of this website and listen/watch/download/podcast at your leisure....it is important to get this info. first before trying to apply the info. below).
Below are some thoughts/ideas for consideration about how to implement and flesh out the idea of simplicity in our everyday lives (some of the thoughts are adapted from Richard Foster):
1. Develop a habit of giving things away. Go through your room or your basement and ask God what He would have you do with the stuff you never use. Don't make your junk someone else's burden (or your church's) - look for useful things that may find a home with someone else to be used properly. This habit of giving stuff away periodically helps to break the bondage of possessions over our lives.
2. Buy things for their usefulness, not their status. God gave me the opportunity to drive a car that was a decade old. When He finally gave me the clearance to get a newer vehicle, I got the same make and model because it was so reliable and so gas friendly. Things don't really make us significant because of their perceived status.
3. Reject anything that develops an addiction in you. These can range from drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes to food, internet, shopping or television. Don't let your life be controlled by anything other than Christ - to do so is to live "double minded and unstable" (note James 1).
4. Learn to enjoy things without owning them. Sure, some things are worth owning, but not everything. We can check out books from the library at times instead of always buying a book. We can enjoy the beach or mountains without feeling we have to own a part of them. This discipline will help to remind us that we really are not the owners of anything - what we have is a gift from the King.
5. Develop a deeper appreciation for creation. I am not an environmentalist, more of a creation trustee or conservationist maybe. The term "environmentalist" usually (not always) refer to those that make creation the object of worship rather than creation being the object of respect, care, and admiration. The life of simplicity lives to seek first the Kingdom of God, so it will have respect for the creation of that King. Do some things to care for creation - recycle, consider the eco-impact of your next car purchase, turn lights off, use less energy, save paper at work or home, etc.
6. Don't incur excessive, or unnecessary, debt. The average American consumer is upside down in consumer debt (I am not here talking about home debt that is investment equity or the like). People get in serious debt because of the newest gadgets that they "must" have, cool shoes, clothes, new vehicles that they don't need, etc. Bottom line, to live simply means that if you don't have the money, don't make the purchase. It leads to complexity and anxiety and will take your focus off of Christ.
7. Speak simply. Jesus said to let your "Yes be Yes, and your No, No" (note Matthew 5:37). The desire to manipulate with words does not come from a heart of simplicity, it comes from a heart of duplicity - a heart that is after its own, selfish agenda. This is not the language of the kingdom, the language of the kingdom is simple, straightforward, and full of grace and truth.
To these thoughts, you could probably add many more, but I offer these to think about as we pursue Christ with a life of simplicity.