Passage: Philippians 4:10-13
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
It seems like we live in a world were it’s easy to believe that WHO I AM IS IN WHAT I HAVE.
‘The people recognise themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment’ Herbert Marcuse.
Last week Stephen spoke about how SABBATH can help us to fight against the lie that to be busy is good. This week we’ll explore a little bit about how SIMPLICITY can be a practice that helps us to go against the idea that to have, consume or buy things will bring contentment.
What is simplicity?
Simplicity is a…
‘joyful unconcern from wanting more and more’ Vernie Schorr Love
“inward reality that results in an outward life style” Richard Foster
A key question to think about with regards to simplicity is: What is my inner reality?
Read Philippians 4:10-13
How can Paul be content when he has nothing?
His inner reality is built on Christ which has an impact on his outer circumstances.
Simplicity seems to be a practice that isn’t primarily about what I will do… but begins with my inward reality, of trusting in what He has done, knowing that there is nothing that can separate me from this love and that my life, worth and identity is built around Him. This then works its way out to my outward lifestyle, where things are not my priority, not what feeds my life, or what makes me who I am and so I am able to live a life of ‘joyful unconcern from wanting more and more’
Simplicity is a discipline that when practiced can help us come to realise and know more in life that Christ is enough.
Practicing simplicity some ideas…
1. Remember the STORY.
As we live life in a world that can tell us we are what we have, we need to remember the big story of the Gospel and what we have in Jesus. God has made us, loves and wants to know us, but we have walked away and chosen ourselves. In spite of that, God steps in and meets us in all that separates us from Him, providing a way through it all and giving us a chance to live life in Him, with Him and through Him. Our inward reality as Christians is built on this and everything else flows from it.
(find below 2 mobile phone screen savers that might help you to focus on Christ as our inward reality)
2. Think of yourSELF less. 3 things to consider…
- Thankfulness: Am I thankful for what I have? Do I appreciate the small moments in life? Am I thankful to God not for what He gives me but for who He is?
- Speech: Why do I say what I say, is it so people will look at me and notice me? Is it so I can hide who I am? Does my yes mean yes and my no mean no?
- Self: am I willing at times to give up I want for the sake of others? Not that I put myself in a position to be trampled over, but where I can confidently and powerfully can choose to take up 2nd or even 3rd place because I have that joy-filled unconcern from wanting more?
3. Dealing with STUFF.
Do I own my stuff or does it own me? Does what I have make me who I am? Do I need to declutter? Do I have stuff that I’ve never used, worn or thought about in years but would never throw it out and if not… why not? Practically it might be the next time you go to buy something to ask yourself 4 questions
- Why do I want that?
- Do I need that?
- Would I enjoy that for what it is?
- Could I actually go without it?
What have I found interesting?
What has challenged my life, attitudes and actions?
How would this habit help me to become more like Jesus?
How would this habit help me to introduce others to Jesus?
What practical steps do I need to take to incorporate this habit into my life?
Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?
Is there someone I should to share with, pray with or encourage