We are shifting gears after what I hope has been a productive week of assessing the mess, identifying the beauty, culling the keepers, and donating the items we no longer need, love, or use (otherwise known as clutter). Now, let’s look at the why behind what we are doing.
Creating space in our lives is essential, but there is more to life than being clutter-free. I talked about this in my post, To What End Do We Simplify Our Lives? For me, my faith is central to all that I do. Today, I’d like to walk with you through some of the Scriptures that reveal the heart of simplicity, which is contentment.
It does us no good to get rid of all the extraneous items in our home if we haven’t first been renewed in our thoughts about consumption. We will just end up back at Target, Kohl’s, or [name of your favorite store], filling up our cart with more things we want, but don’t necessarily need. The renewal of the mind leads to transformation. I hope that these verses will direct and encourage you as you move forward in your journey to simplicity.
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 than food, and the body more than clothes? 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? Matthew 6:25-26
How much time do we spend worrying about our clothes and our food? In a modern sense, we could look at our constant stress over what to make for dinner, our fear of not being fashionable enough, or our concern about not having enough money at the end of the month to feed our families. God is called Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. With some simple budgeting and meal planning, our lives would be much simpler (more on that in another post), but to worry over whether we will have enough is something we can put in His hands. There are countless stories of God’s provision for those who had no idea where their next meal would come from. We can trust Him; He is faithful to provide.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Again, the Lord’s faithfulness is evident here. We can stop striving for more: a bigger house, higher position, better car, trendy clothes, expensive vacations, and fancy dinners. The more we get, the more we want. More is never enough. It takes a big step out of the mainstream to decide to be content with what you have, but when we have God- who created everything!- we have enough. We can be content in Him.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-4
We have seen already that God is trustworthy. Our part is to do good: be generous; give to those in need; care for the orphans and widows; do what is right. We are also called to dwell, which speaks once again to contentment, and to delight in God. He isn’t out to make us miserable. Even in the midst of difficult circumstances, He is working for our good. When we learn to trust, dwell, and delight, He gives us the desires of our heart, which have now become lined up with His. We delight to do His will; our hearts beat for the same things His does. We find joy in living with and for Him.
Then [Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. Luke 12:15
Greed is an insidious master of our hearts, and the Lord warns us to guard against it. I love this part: “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” True “life” can only be found in Jesus; in fact, He called Himself “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Do not be deceived by the lure of advertising and consumerism all around you; it will only pull you further away from the truly abundant life.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7
When we live according to the previous verses, we will have attained both godliness and contentment, and we will be rich beyond compare. We’ve all heard it before: You can’t take it with you. When this life is over, what do you really want to leave behind as your legacy: a house full of stuff or a life of faith and purpose?
The apostle Paul said in Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Don’t let the things of this world weigh you down or hold you back from the race you have been called to.
What do you need to throw off today?