THE SIMPLE LIFE
By Sarah Etheridge
Matthew Ch 6v25
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. ..But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
When I wake up in the morning, there's always that little gap of nothing-ness while my body waits for my brain to kick in to gear. That little space of time when bed is the best place in the world and nothing can persuade me otherwise. And then the world comes crashing in, my brain is flooded with all the things I need to remember for the day, giving me even more of a reason to stay in bed and less and less reasons to face the day. Even deciding what to wear takes up a small city worth of brain power.
In all this mess Jesus calls us to a simple life to not spend our time worrying about what we will eat or what we will wear but to trust God that he will care for all our needs. When I think about it, most of the things that I worry and stress about, are things that I've filled up my life with what to wear, what to eat, even what car to drive.
But Jesus calls us to be free from anxiety and worry. He says:
'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?' (Matthew 6v25).
He calls us to simplify our lives and work out the basics with him again.
Thomas a Kempis wrote in the 15th Century 'blissful are the simple, for they shall have much peace'. You'd think that six centuries later we might have learnt something by now but more than ever our lives are crowded with tvs, magazines and people telling us that the more we have, the better we'll be.
Simplicity is about taking control of your life. Not just accepting the life you were given but choosing the life of rich fullness that God has for you. Living to your potential and not letting your life be confused and complicated by the things that tell you 'if only you were beautiful, or thin, owned this or that '.
First and most importantly, a simple life begins inside us its useless to declutter our homes without paying any attention to our attitudes and values.
How do we do this?
1. Realising that everything we have is a gift from God.
2. Trusting God with what we have
3. Making what we have available to others.
With God's grace we can begin to live with an inner simplicity and freedom. But there has to be a balance and sooner or later, these inner changes MUST be reflected in the way we live our lives and make our choices:
Buy what you need not what you want impress people with you life, not your belongings.
Deep down inside, I know that the biggest reason I have for having a new haircut, new car or new clothes is because I want people to like me. I want people to be impressed by my style. We all want to be popular and loved. It's so hard to lay down these insecurities and to believe that we can be loved because of who we are, that people could be impressed by a godly life and spiritual values, rather than a trendy wardrobe. But ultimately, the hardest thing to get to grips with is that you dont need to impress people. You are already loved and accepted for who you are by your heavenly Father and he doesn't care how trendy you are.
Be simple and clear when you speak: Let what you say be simply 'yes' and 'no' (Matt Ch 5v37)
Does anyone really talk like Dawson and Joey? Or Seth Cohen? I'd love to be known for my amazing vocabulary and witty remarks but Jesus calls us to be clear and honest. We don't need to impress people or to charm and flirt. When I think about it, I'd so much rather be known for speaking with honesty and integrity and for not always speaking everything that comes in to my head!
Turn from anything that distracts you from God.
If anything has a hold over you, any addiction or craving then do everything you can to be free from it. The only thing you should be a slave to is God.
Anything that distracts us from God is going to be bad for us in the end even simplifying your life, if taken to the extreme, can distract you from focusing on Him. Ultimately, the first and foremost thing to remember is to Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Jesus goes on in this passage to say that if we seek him first then all these things (food and drink and clothes) will be given to you as well 'For your Heavenly Father knows that you need them' (Matt Ch6v33).
We fill our homes and our wardrobes with clothes and possessions we want but don't need, we stock up our fridges with food that isnt good for our bodies and watch programmes and films that are no good for our minds. We become obsessed with the new diet that's going to change our life or the self-help book that will make us a better person. We make gods out of celebrities and buy magazines that give us every detail of their doomed relationships. The world is good and created for us to enjoy and yet we have become focused on so much rubbish.
It's only when we seek Him that we can find true freedom from these things. We follow the teaching of simplicity because it leads us to Jesus, a simple life helps to shift our focus from finding our value in the things we possess, to finding our value in God and truly appreciating his creation.
'Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'
Matt Ch 6v19