Following Jesus is a path of love – towards our Father, but also towards humanity. For those of us who live in one of the world’s more wealthy regions, this prompts countless questions about lifestyle.
Our Father loves us, and wants good things for us; but the love He gives us for others tempers how much of what we enjoy we retain for ourselves. Because of His love for us, He doesn’t want us to become “bloated” – metaphorically, or literally! We may choose to live simply for our own physical, psychological and spiritual well-being; and also that others may “ simply live”.
This is worked out in different ways at different times for different people – regarding our lifestyle, spending, giving, diet, exercise, use of time, choice of career, hobbies, investments, and much more. The best way to address this is not through a set of rules, but through learning to hear with increased clarity the voice of the Holy Spirit.
“A devout life does bring wealth - but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough …”
1 Timothy 6:6-8, The Message
Simplicity is relative – all our lives look luxurious from a developing world perspective – and for many of us, the way we shape our lifestyle may also impact those we share our homes with. It may be best to start with what affects us most personally.
- An initial “audit” of our possessions, our investments, our leisure and entertainment, and our ambitions will give us some material to reflect on.
- The next – and difficult! – step is to try and weigh all this, not against our peers but before our Father. What pleases Him? Is there anything about the way we live that makes us uncomfortable in His presence?
- It’s usually better to make small changes that will “stick” rather than radical changes that fail!
- Almost always, living simply will be tied in with giving generously – explore that “Healthy Habit” here.