Different voices constantly compete for our attention trying to gain influence over our lives. What was the last thing you bought? Why did you buy it; because you wanted it, to impress others, because of advertising or because you needed it?
Who or what influences the decisions you make; common sense, friends, family, teachers, your own desires?
Different voices constantly compete for our attention trying to gain influence over our lives. Friends, teachers, parents and advertisers are just a few of those fighting to impact what we see as important and valuable. We’re told we need more stuff, to do more or to achieve more in order to be happy but if you’re anything like me it never satisfies. I recently paid money to upgrade my phone to an IPhone 6 early, and I love it but if I’m honest it hasn’t made much difference to my life and I’ll still want the IPhone 7 when it’s released.
The problem is when we listen to all these voices (or even just a few) our priorities get divided and we quickly discover we can never have it all. We then feel anxious, worried and under pressure. Yet from what I read in the Bible and my own experience freedom and happiness actually comes from having less, not from having more.
In 1 Timothy 6:6-10 Paul says
“a devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10
This is called the spiritual discipline of Simplicity. But it is not primarily about getting rid of material possessions or doing less. Instead it is about putting God at the centre of our lives and living for an audience of one. To practice simplicity is about making God the number one voice we listen to in our lives. It is to make God’s desires our desires and His priorities our priorities. In turn this changes our attitude towards what we own, what we buy and what we’re working for. When we seek God first we will find we do not need to chase after material things or praise from others.
There are three principles that can help us to practice simplicity:
- We can choose to recognise that what we have is a gift from God, rather than something we have earned or achieved.
- We can choose to trust God with our possessions and relationships. We do not need to hold tightly to the gifts God gives, He can and will protect them.
- We can choose to share what God has given us rather than hoarding it for ourselves. This could be giving our time, our money or sharing what we have with others.
What am I thankful for?
What do I choose to trust God with?
What do I have that I can give away?