“Our life is frittered away by detail…. Simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me”.
This is the Lord’s great invitation to intimacy; to be alone with Him, to enjoy the pleasure of His company over a meal that nourishes both heart and soul.
But can we hear His knocking? Can we hear His voice over the clamour and chaos that all too often fragments our lives?
What we need is a quiet, focused space in our souls, where there is time and clear- headedness and awareness of God’s nearness.
One of the ways create this environment is through simplicity.
(4). BACK TO BASIC: SIMPLICITY
What exactly is simplicity? We’ve called it a discipline and noted that it involves reordering our lives.
Dallas Willard, in his book The Spirit of the Disciplines, defines simplicity as “the arrangement of life around a few consistent purposes, explicitly excluding what is not necessary to human well- being.”
Jesus crystallized them for us in His Sermon on the Mount.
“Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”
Simplicity , then, is bringing these purposes into clear focus and shedding those things that distract us from them. It’s living in harmony with our inward desires and outward lives.
In Corinthians 11:3, the apostle Paul reminds us about this.
3But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.
Alan Redpath, in his book Blessings Out of Buffetings, writes,
That is an arresting phrase because of these days there is scarcely anything that is simple; everything is so complicated. What am I to believe? What is right? What is wrong? In every area of life and old simplicities have vanished from us until even this word simple has changed, and I do not think people like being called simple because it has an association that is a little unpleasant. It would mean that you are not quite one –hundred percent. That is not the meaning of the word in the New Testament , for simplicity means single – hearted , crystal clear…..
…. A man may be and a saint without having many of the qualities which the world today rates very highly , but he will never be a saint without the simplicity of soul, a simplicity that is in Christ.
Prescriptions for a Simpler Life
Here are some questions and guidelines that will help you probe areas needing change.
In Your Own Personal World
1. Is there something you must do about your time with God?
Some simplifying of your schedule so you can begin meeting with Him, totally alone- no TV, no music, no electronic devices- privately , for just thirty minutes a day?
2. Do you need to say no more often?
Is your peace of heart worth risking disappointing others or being less visible?
3. Have you become cluttered in your person?
Is your living space choking out your life?
Are you carrying too much “ stuff” with you through life?
In Your World of Relationships
1. Are the good things keeping you from the best?
David Thoreau wrote, “ Let your affairs be as two or three , and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb- nail.”
2. Are too many things draining your energy, leaving you exhausted-even resentful?
3. Are the activities outside your home stealing time from those within the home?
Hopefully, you are not feeling overwhelmed and guilty at this point. That’s not our intention at all. Rather, we want to empower you with the reality that God has given you a great deal of control over what goes on in your life.
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Goethe