Living Our Faith

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice -- the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him." Romans 12:1

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Simplicity

Posted by on in Past Sermon
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The sermon yesterday was on the discipline of Simplicity. Our Scripture reading was Matthew 6:24-33.

Just a quick review – the discipline of simplicity has both an inner reality and an outer lifestyle. The inner reality is the understanding that we serve God (in the sense that a slave serves their master) and belong to Him (Matt. 6:24). The outer lifestyle then is a life centered on that inner reality of belonging to God, one that seeks first the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33).

But the hard part about simplicity is that both the inner reality and the outer lifestyle go together. And let me be the first to say that I am not good at that. For me, what happens most of the time is that I don’t let the inner reality of simplicity affect my outward lifestyle. I know that I belong to God through Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus’ blood was shed for me, that He rose again for me. But … it only takes a few moments of walking through my home to realize that Cheryl and I have more toys than we need for our daughters. We have boxes of stuff in the basement that we don’t need but also don’t throw out. We have old electronics that we might us again … but we might not. And as I look at this stuff I wonder, “Why did I buy that?”

But that’s not all. I still want to buy new toys for my daughters that they don’t need. I still want to buy new books that I will never read (and I’d rather buy them then get them from the library). I plan to upgrade technology … and probably before I need to. I’d like a new driver in my golf bag even though the one I have works perfectly fine…

I need simplicity. I need an outer lifestyle that matches my inner reality. I need an inner reality that produces an outer lifestyle that longs first and foremost for the kingdom of God. Practicing simplicity is not about from what we deny ourselves, it’s about the freedom we have in being slaves to God. It’s about the freedom we have because we serve a master who died and rose again for us. Surrounding ourselves with endless mountains of stuff and chasing after more money only brings more anxiety and a desire for more possessions, not freedom. When it’s up to me to earn my peace and our happiness, the new driver will only keep me happy until something better comes out, the new toy for my kids will only be new for a couple days, my carefully planned technology upgrade will be obsolete in a couple months, … and the cycle will continue.

Simplicity brings peace, comfort, and freedom. Simplicity instills the truth deep in us that we have been bought at a price (the blood of Christ) and all that we have comes from God. It teaches us that even our lives belong to God. When we live out of that reality our possessions are set in their proper perspective. Since everything we have is God’s in the first place, that changes how we think about our possessions, our money, our lives. Our possessions no longer own us.

When we are no longer a slave to money we are freed from buying things we don’t need, freed from trying to impress others with our possessions, freed from believing that we are what we own.

As slaves to God we are freed to share freely from what God has given us, freed to look out for the welfare of others, and freed to trust more fully in God’s provision and care for our lives.

We are freed to seek first the kingdom of God.

And so I invite you to wonder, “How might I practice simplicity this week? How might I incorporate the discipline of simplicity into my life?”

 

This coming Sunday the discipline we are looking at is Fasting. I encourage you to think of something that you can give up next week, something that will be a sacrifice for you, and to give it up starting this Sunday morning. So, if you are giving up coffee, skip your morning cup of coffee before church. If it’s your cell phone that you will give up, leave it on the shelf (and turn it off). If you are giving up your newspaper, make plans to donate it to a neighbor for the week or plan to store it somewhere for the week so that you can read it next week. You get the point.

As we fast together as a congregation, we will do two things. First, whatever the cost of that particular item is for the week, set that money aside and put it in the second offering on March 30 (the offering is for Heritage of Faith – Teresia). Second, in the times that we feel weak and feel like we need that thing we are fasting from, we will go to God in prayer and pray for Heritage of Faith and for Teresia and for the children.

The Scripture readings for this coming Sunday are Matthew 6:16-18 and Luke 9:23-27.

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  • Guest
    Ralph deVries Thursday, 20 March 2014

    Great work Pastor Aaron! You are clearly blessed at what you do. I appreciate your honesty and struggles to get at the "heart of the matter".

    Ralph

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