Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Basis of Simplicity-Part I

Finally, someone explained to me the heart of simplicity. I found it in a book called Celebration of Discipline-The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster.

I've been doing all the right external things to make our lives simpler; decluttering, not doing too many things, staying home more, etc. All these things are good and have caused me to be calmer.

But simplicity should begin in the heart and then move outward. I've been doing it backwards.

Here's what Mr. Foster says about simplicity. "Simplicity is the only thing that can sufficiently reorient our lives so that possessions can be genuinely enjoyed without destroying us. Without simplicity we will either capitulate to the "mammon" spirit of this present evil age, or we will fall into an un-Christian legalistic asceticism. Both lead to idolatry. Both are spiritually lethal. Asceticism and simplicity are mutually incompatible. Asceticism renounces possessions. Simplicity sets possessions in proper perspective.

Simplicity sets us free to receive the provision of God as a gift that is not ours to keep, and that can be freely shared with others. Once we recognize that the Bible denounces the materialist and the ascetic with equal vigor, we are prepared to turn our attention to the framing of a Christian understanding of simplicity.

Nothing must come before the kingdom of God, including the desire for a simple lifestyle. Simplicity becomes idolatry when it takes precedence over seeking the kingdom.

Freedom from anxiety is one of the inward evidences of seeking the kingdom of God first. The inward reality of simplicity involves a life of joyful unconcern for possessions. Neither the greedy nor the miserly know that liberty. It has nothing to do with abundance of possessions or their lack. It is an INWARD SPIRIT OF TRUST. The sheer fact that a person is living without things is no guarantee that he or she is living in simplicity."

To be continued...


Jeannette said...

Spot on!

Luke said...

Great post. If you liked Celebration of Discipline, then you will LOVE Foster's book on simplicity, The Freedom of Simplicity. It's one of the first books that I read on simplicity, and still one of the best.

"Simplicity becomes idolatry when it takes precedence over seeking the kingdom."

That's a great reminder, one that is good for me, because now I am writing a blog on simplification, and it's easy to become starry-eyed about it all.

Great post!

~ Luke @

Pom Pom said...

I'll have to read Celebration of Discipline again. I have The Freedom of Simplicity, too. Bill shared an office with him quite a few years ago now.

Jessica said...

"Freedom from anxiety is one of the inward evidences of seeking the kingdom of God first." I needed to hear that!!!