Possessing Possessions: The Practice of Simple Living
The call of God is not to separate from the world but know how to live in it.
- Philip Nation
To live in a world that is obsessed with more, we must rise above it. Jesus gave us a very clear instruction, you cannot serve both God and mammon. Generally people assume mammon means money, but the word mammon actually encompasses more than money, it encompasses material possessions, wealth, influence, material wealth.
Simple living, is more than just going Marie Kondo on your possessions. It is taking stock of our heart. Our heart determines our contentment and that contentment is what allows us to practice simple living. When you are not content with what you have, you will often strive for more, greater, better. And so, even if you Marie Kondo your home and possessions, you will merely fall into a cycle of rotation as you obtain greater, better. Your heart will still serve mammon, you will just do so under the guise of minimal living.
Simple living places everything in their proper priority. Simple living is what allowed the church to behave as they did in Acts, being willing to sell property to meet the needs of others. They were not going for minimal living but looking at their priorities and realizing that the needs of others was more important that having the extras in life. Our current society does not live in this manner, we consider philanthropy something you do once you are a millionaire or billionaire because then you are not really sacrificing anything to give to others. But you are gaining something: influence and prestige among other wealthy people. So as we have learned from Jesus, that is the reward.
So how can we practice simple living? By being generous, even when it means sacrificing our nail appointment or hair appointment. By looking at our desires and actions and having proper perspective. Viewing everything in light of eternity and what pleases God. Having a greater perspective of stewardship: everything belongs to God, I just get to manage it for a little while. Discipleship, you cannot walk this journey alone and without guidance, look for those who are already practicing simple living, so that means you will likely need someone close who you can see up close and personal. And SHUN. Shun what pulls you away from God. Shun what pulls you into comparison.
An attitude of gratitude is your great FRIEND.