Summary: A series of sermons from Richard Foster’s book "Celebration of Discipline." A top 10 book for any Christian’s bookshelf!
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES: SIMPLICITY
If you had to describe to someone what a “simple” life was, what might you say? Would you say that they had a garden where all their food came from and they need not go to a grocery store? Perhaps they had no need of a car and the entire headache that comes with that. Perhaps the simple life means the person has everything they need and nothing more. What is the simple life? If you are a person who lives in today’s world, how do you have a life that could be described as simple?
I. THE CULTURAL NEED FOR SIMPLICITY
Our culture is one that lacks the inward and outward reality of simplicity. Our world is complicated. One of the basic needs we have in this world is security. Our culture tells us that we should trust in things to provide us with security. Our culture tells us that we should trust in money and influence for security. Our culture tells us that only the newest and best will provide the comfort and security we need. In our quest for security, we lose touch with reality:
(1) We crave things we neither need nor enjoy
(2) We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like
(3) We should be ashamed if we drive a car until it wears out
(4) We feel that to be out of step with fashion is to be out of step with reality
(5) Covetousness and greed is called ambition
(6) People are important based on how much they produce or how much they earn
We need to realize that we are commanded not to be conformed to this world for a
reason! We as Christians are called to be different. We are called to think different and act different. We are called to live differently from this complicated material driven world. Simplicity, which is the discipline we will speak about today, is a way of life for the Christian that keeps them different from the world. Simplicity is a perspective about money and finances and material things.
II. THE SCRIPTURAL NEED FOR “SIMPLICITY”
The Christian Discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-
style. Simplicity is a way to order your outward life… specifically your opinions and attitudes about money and finances. Many people think that the Bible is silent when in comes to economic issues and our attitudes. This is not true. The Bible wants us to have a simple way of life and a simple attitude about money.
The Bible has many passages that deal with wealth and our attitudes about it:
(1) Leviticus 25:23- speaks about land ownership and that God owns the Earth
(2) Psalm 62:10- Warns against setting our hearts on wealth if we become rich
(3) Commandment 10- command against covetousness and the lust to have
(4) Proverbs 11:28- He who trusts in riches will wither
(5) Luke 16:13- you cannot serve both God and money
(6) Matthew 6:21- do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth
(7) 1 Timothy 6:9- wealth may snare men into hurtful desires and sin
Scripture clearly warns us against wealth and some of the desires and attitudes that come
with it. What then is to be our attitude? The Old Testament and New Testament both tell us to be aware of the dangers of money and building up wealth, but so much of our world is geared toward that end. What is to be our attitude? How are we to be different? One way we are to be different is that we are to have an attitude of simplicity.
III. THE DEFINITION OF SIMPLICITY AND ITS PLACE IN OUR LIFE
What is simplicity? I already said that it is an inward attitude that affects your outward
life. Perhaps we can best define simplicity by identifying what it is not. Simplicity is not the swearing off of possessions and purchasing things. Simplicity does not mean that you hate money and those people who have an abundance of it. Simplicity is not the desire to be poor and to remain that way.
READ MATTHEW 6:25-33… This is simplicity!
The central point of the discipline of simplicity is to seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness of God first, and then everything necessary will come in its proper order. Everything hinges on us maintaining God first. Nothing must come before the kingdom of God. A life of simplicity is to not have anxiety about material things.
A life of simplicity is to use what wealth you have for God… first.
A life of simplicity then is to keep this sinful drive to want things in proper perspective.
A life of simplicity accepts that everything you have is a gift from God.