What emotions does the word “simplicity” evoke in you? For me it sounds restful, uncluttered, and calm. I envision sitting on the front porch drinking lemonade while watching the sun set.
I know in the past I’ve said, “Oh, I’ll do that when life calms down some.” But does it really? Mine doesn’t. It seems that the busyness changes. Life is not going to calm down. Maybe it will when the kids are all grown and I’m 70 years old, but I watch my parents and in-laws and I don’t see their lives being stress or hassle free.
Perhaps there is more to “living the simple life.”
Donald S. Whitney says,” We simplify, not just to be less busy, even though we may be right to pursue that. Rather, we simplify to remove distractions from our pursuit of Christ.” I’ve needed to remind myself of this lately. I feel that I am wasting so much time. I want to do better. I desire to do well. And I have found some practical ways to attempt to simplify my life. But all of these must be grounded in a belief in Jesus. And I think, perhaps, simplicity is more an attitude toward life, than lack of activity. Although getting rid of extraneous and time consuming activities might be warranted.
10) Submission: There is nothing I can do to bring rest. I must allow God to be in charge of my life. This means taking my yoke and giving it to Christ; and then picking up His yoke and putting it on myself. Oxen don’t fight their master. They do what the master tells them to do as he pulls on the reins. I must repent and trust in God. Christ is the One who brings the rest. Jesus must be my everything.
9) Contentment: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how content are you? What would it take to make it a 10? Perhaps you need to start with an inventory of your heart. I did. I have to ask myself, “What is my motivation for doing this activity? Am I being insecure? Am I being prideful? Am I trying to prove something?” Lack of pure motivation means a lack of contentment in myself. If I am perfectly contented to be just who God made me to be, then I will go wherever my Master sends me and I will do whatever activities He places in my hands. But so many times I do acts of service with a heart for myself and not for my God. So, in the future, if I become burdened or “burned out” because of ministry or activities, then I need to reevaluate my motivations.
8) Abiding in Christ: This is a lifestyle. In order for me to know what activities to be involved in, then I must be yoked with Christ. The only way to be yoked with Christ is to abide in Him. Daily. Hourly. Sometimes every minute. The enemy would love to distract me, but if I am attached to the Vine and soaking up His words and His love, then I will grow and produce fruit. I must not allow myself to be choked by the thorns of this world. When I spend time with the Lord, it is sweet and simple. No bells. No whistles. Just Him.
7) Faithfulness: Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. No one can snatch me from His hand. He is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer. In whom shall I trust? I can exult in my tribulations. I can respond with joy because He is making me perfect and complete. I am protected by my faith, so I can rejoice in my salvation! So when trials come, and they will, I choose to look to the cross knowing that He will sustain me and won’t let anything shake me. I can live for today and not worry about the future because it is in His hand and I choose to believe in my God!
6) Seek First His Kingdom: I love this quote by Oswald Chambers: “There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfill His purpose through your life.” I must have wholehearted devotion to Jesus Christ. Just a taste, a drop, of God is better than living in sin without God. I want to be so in tune with God that His breath is my breath, His words are my words, and my actions are a reflection of who He is. I need to be in the scriptures seeking Him.
5) Be Consistent: This may be more important than the amount of time I spend with God. I think I’m to the point where I need to say, “Every day at 3:00 I am going to spend some time with the Lord.” Whether is lasts 10 minutes or an hour is immaterial. What matters is that I am consistently going to the Lord. Reading God’s word must be a habit. And I want to choose to do this, not because I feel I have to, but because I love Jesus. Through the eons, God was consistent about making sure there was a way for my redemption. I think I can give Him 10 minutes of my time a day.
4) Focus: What is essential? Jesus. Love. Using my spiritual gifts is great, but what God wants more is unity and love in His church. I must strip down to the essentials: the gospel of Christ; thankfulness; and love. I must also be completely present in the moment and focused on what God wants me to do.
3) Don’t do what is good, do what is best: I must ask these questions before I take on any new activities for myself or my family – Will this activity enhance my love for God and other people? Does this activity glorify God? If I do this, am I being holy in my behavior? Am I giving in to something that is less than holy? God says He will instruct and teach me. He will guide me on paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. I want God’s best for me.
2) Pursue Peace: I am to seek peace. Peace comes from having my mind set on the Holy Spirit. If I love the scriptures, then I will have great peace and, therefore, I will have no stumbling blocks in my way. I will be anxious for nothing. I know that the peace of God will guard my heart. I must also be sure that I seek forgiveness. I must be at peace with all men.
1) Be Willing to STOP: The Lord longs to be gracious to me and He waits for me…He waits for me to long for Him. When we turn to the Lord, the Holy Spirit unveils our hearts so He can transform us into His glory. There is a time to do, and there is a time to stop. I need to be silent before the Lord.
“Get moving – begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.” ~ Oswald Chambers