"What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away" -1 Corinthians 7:29-31. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
(The context of today's thoughts: Today I had two calls in a row about dear friends who just found out that they don't have many days in this world. It reminded me that there is nothing in this world worth living for, except Jesus and others.)
THE BIBLE ENCOURAGES SIMPLE LIVING Do you feel pulled in a dozen different directions all at the same time? I have a friend who thinks about living on a beach every day of her life. Would you wish to live simply, quietly and in peace? Me too. Actually, most people would do that in a heartbeat. This means that many of us long for a simple life.
To live a simple life is to live with a heart that has only one goal. What would that look like for you? - Would that mean getting more stuff? No! - Might it mean filling every waking moment with busyness? No! - Would it mean living the way you do now? If not, then what does your heart want?
If you knew you only had a week to live, what would you do? - Would you slow down and smell the roses? I hope so! - Would you delight in each moment of life and your relationships? I would think so! - Would you get rid of anything that weighs you down in your Christian life? Why not?
I want a life that simply revolves around loving Christ. How about you?
It's hard to keep our lives simple when we are assaulted daily and from so many directions with messages of more, more, more. It would seem that living a down-to-earth life could almost be considered un-American because we are not living up to our role as endless consumers.
Being poor does not make us holier or being wealthy make us evil. It is not wealth or lack of it that is the question, but about learning to have our needs and wants centered and met in Christ.
Our hearts become filled with the things of the world, or as Paul calls them: "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life." Yet, a believer's heart truly does know what is most important. We just need to listen to what God is telling us.
Ask yourself, "What are my core values? What is most important to me?" - and then get rid of anything that gets in the way.
SIMPLICITY IS A LIFESTYLE CHOICE
If your life feels complicated, stressed, and out of control, then examine your life in detail and choose the path of greatest service to Christ.
- Live humbly before your God - Learn to live with what you need and within your means - Find beauty, value, and worth all around you - Be your best at whatever you say or do - Don't try to be more or less than God's design for you - Love your family with all you are not all you can buy them - Own what you actually need and make it simple to care for - Keep an eternal focus - Live like Abraham, camping in the wilderness: don't take it too seriously and make your campsite like a palace
HOW CAN I LIVE A LIFE OF SIMPLICITY?
In the moments that we live fully present with the Lord, quietly walking with Him, life becomes sweet and precious and simple.
The minutes, hours and days you experience make up your life.
The best of life isn't coming some day or when you get a new job, or car, or move, or whatever. It should be here now and you can find ways to cherish it and live it fully.
You are making your life with every breath you take, every sunset you experience, every choice you make.
You, with Christ's guidance, can find the life style that He desires for you. You can find your greatest satisfaction is your relationship with Him.
BUT YOU CAN MISS LIFE BY THINKING, "SOMEDAY I'LL DO THIS."
Don't stop making plans and goals, but while you are dreaming and planning, make time to find Christ in your daily life.
Grow, work, seek after God, live every moment with Him. Find others to love, serve and enjoy. Learn to be thankful in the moment.
This IS your life - this second - this day - dive in and find what is precious and learn to delight in the journey.
A young lady once said, “When ‘enough’ is always just a little more than you already have, you don’t have a lot of room left for the truly great pleasures of life: family, friends and the time to enjoy them." For Christians, too much stuff can also leave too little room for God. With all the time required to shop for, use, store, clean, maintain, organize, insure, and worry about our stuff, there can be little time left for reading God’s Word, prayer, ministry, church, and reaching out to others. Is it any wonder that the Bible encourages simple living?
The Message says, "Don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily. Keep it simple!—Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out" (I Cor. 7:31).
Richard Foster said, “The majority of Christians have never seriously wrestled with the problem of simplicity, conveniently ignoring Jesus’ many words on the subject. The reason is simple: This Discipline directly challenges our vested interests in an affluent life-style.” We all have to ask ourselves: “How much is enough?” Foster says that simplicity has to be an inward reality before it becomes an outward lifestyle. He calls it “a life of joyful unconcern for possessions” and “the one thing that sufficiently reorients our lives so that possessions can be genuinely enjoyed without destroying us.” If we consider everything we have as a gift from God, we free ourselves from anxiety when we make it freely available to others. The simple life gives so much more freedom than the life of always wanting more. Foster suggests freeing attitudes in the heart lead to freeing habits in life, such as...
-Buying things for their usefulness rather than their status -Rejecting anything that is producing an addiction in you -Developing a habit of giving things away -Refusing to be propagandized by the sellers of modern gadgetry -Learning to enjoy things without owning them -Developing a deeper appreciation for God's creation -Looking with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes -Obeying Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech -Rejecting anything that breeds the opposition of others -Shunning anything that distracts you from seeking first the Kingdom of God
SIMPLICITY IS A CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINE The Bible encourages us to live a quiet life (I Thessalonians. 4:11). That means we must get out of our materialistic, marketing-messaged world, and that starts with a heart that wants only to hear the voice of God's "Well done."
The Thessalonian Christians at one point had lost their joy and peace. They were so confused about what to do in the present that they had lost their hope for the future. They wondered if the resurrection had taken place and they had missed it. Some of them had gotten lazy, others were worried. Paul encourages them to get back to serving Christ and working while they wait for His return.
The Lord wanted the Thessalonians to learn to live simply — to be satisfied with what they had been given and to be diligent in their work and also for the Lord.
In times of uncertainty, God’s Word is a mighty, stabilizing force. Emotions and feelings often lie to us. We cannot trust them, but we can trust the wisdom we find in God’s Word.
Paul tells idle believers to get back to work, stop talking badly about one another, and know that God’s love and promises to you have not changed. “Faithful is He who calls you who also will bring it to pass” (5:24). Jesus would return, and those who believed in Him would be with Him in glory.
France Fénelon said: “Your mind is too much taken up with your circumstances, and this hinders you from understanding the mind of God.... I think it is such a hindrance to the kind of quiet meditation in which God reveals Himself. You must learn to be humble and simple.... Be content with leading a simple life.”
UNCLUTTER YOUR LIFE
Living with godly simplicity does not mean laziness. Simplicity, when it is handled properly, removes the noise and clutter that threaten to steal our sense of peace and intimacy with Christ.
Brother Lawrence said, "Never tire of doing even the smallest things for God, because He isn’t impressed so much with the quantity of our work as with the love in which it is done. And we should not be discouraged if we fail in the beginning. The practice would eventually cause our efforts to become a pleasure habit that we would do without thinking....
We should simply develop an attitude of faith, hope, and love. We need not be concerned about anything else. It simply is not important, and should only be regarded as the means of getting to the final goal of being entirely lost in the love of God.”
SIMPLICITY IS A RARE JEWEL In The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer writes: “Every age has its own characteristics. Right now we are in an age of religious complexity. The simplicity, which is in Christ, is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations, and a world of nervous activities, which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart.
The shallowness of our inner experience, the hollowness of our worship, and the imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.”
SIMPLICITY RESULTS IN A LIFE OF FREEDOM AND GREATER SERVICE TO GOD Fénelon writes: “O, how amiable this simplicity is! Who will give it to me? I leave all for this. It is the Pearl of the Gospel.”
The Thessalonian Christians learned to embrace the discipline of simplicity. They refocused their hearts and minds on Jesus Christ, knowing that He would never fail them.
Why do I choose to live simply? 1. That others may simply live. 2. Because the only thing worth living for is Jesus and people.
Please pray with me: "Lord, help me to live simply, so that other people can simply live and that they can com to know Your Son, Jesus Christ. Keep me content with YOU and what You have given me. Amen."
Simply Serving Jesus, Pastor Ken
*This Sunday (August 9th) the message at our 10 AM Worship Service at Faith Fellowship will be "Killing Others with Kindness, Not Anger." On August 16th our service will be at Skonewood Retreat Center with catered lunch to follow.
Faith Fellowship, 2497 State Hwy 35, Luck, WI Pastor's email: email@example.com / phone: 715-483-9202 I hope to see you at Faith Fellowship real soon! -Pastor Ken ...
Scott WalkerMy dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.