Summary: Outward Spiritual Discipline: Simplicity
LESSON 8: THE ROLE OF SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES IN SPIRITUAL GROWTH (Part 2)
Outward Spiritual Discipline: Simplicity
Matthew 6:19- 33 (New International Version)
19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 So do not worry, saying, ’What shall we eat?’ or ’What shall we drink?’ or ’What shall we wear?’
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
a) What is simplicity?
• The discipline of simplicity differs from the disciplines of meditation and prayer in that those disciplines are much like physical exercise whereas the discipline of simplicity is a lifestyle change.
• The discipline of simplicity is the conscious act of not being tied to the things of this world.
• Simplicity does not mean swearing to do away with 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.
• “Living simply means adopting a lifestyle that avoids unnecessary accumulation of material items. It helps us seek outward detachment from the things of this world in order to focus our lives on the leadings of the Spirit. Living simply entails clearing our lives and our houses of spiritual and material clutter so as to create more space for faithful living.” – Catherine Whitmire
• “Simplicity does not mean getting rid of all your possessions, but rather integrating them into your life’s purpose”- Mary Gregory “Plain Living: a Quaker path to 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 the potentially sinful drive of wanting things in proper perspective.
• A life of simplicity accepts that everything you have is a gift from God.
• A life of simplicity accepts God’s care over what we have.
• A life of simplicity admits that everything they own should be available for others.
b) Inner Simplicity
• The discipline of simplicity begins with inner simplicity – simplicity of mind and heart.
• Jesus tells us not to worry about the outer material things in our life, but to seek one thing – to seek God’s kingdom, His reign, His rule.
• Inner simplicity comes from keeping first things first.
• Jesus makes the promise that if we put first things first, all the other things will come, but they will not have the hold on us that they would if we sought them first.