1. Be satisfied with what you have
“ Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Having an attitude of gratitude will stop those feelings of disatisfaction. When we focus on what we do have, and desire what you have already, our perception changes.
Making a gatitude journal can help develop this as by writing a list of positive things down, it helps us focus on them. If this doesn’t come naturally to you take time each day to do this. Enjoy what you own and intentionally appreciate it. Go beyond material possessions and add people to your list that you are grateful for.
Recognise that having more doesn’t increase your happiness and comparison with what others have is a joy stealer.
2 Don’t be conformed to the ways of the world
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Who is shaping your thoughts and desires? Is it God and His Word or are you more influenced by the materialistic world we live in?
Our western culture is – buy more, have the latest product, “keep up with the Jones” meaning make sure you have what your neighbour has – and more! Have the latest technology, the biggest and the best, use credit to pay for what you can’t afford and yet at the same time we also have a disposable mentality.
What are you feeding on?
In order for our minds to be renewed and not conform to this world we need to feed on the Word of God daily and meditate on it. Watch, listen and read. Saying no to fleshly desires and say “Yes” to God. Work out the spiritual disciplines in your life and be intentional about them.
3 Be content whatever your circumstances
“ I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. “ Philippians 4:11-13
Paul was in prison for his faith when he wrote these words. I’m not sure many of us would be able to say the same thing. His situation seems unfair as he was imprisoned for what he believes.
He showed great humility and was content to know that he had an assurance of his salvation as well as a right relationship with God. This was very real to Paul, as he knew what it was to oppose the Gospel and mistreat people. He chose to have a grateful heart which was demonstated when he was in prison with Silas, where they chose to worship and give glory to God despite their situation. The incredible results were not only freedom for themselves but also freedom for those around them. The jailer got saved as a result.
4 Live simply
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” Philippians 3:7-9
Again this scripture describes Paul’s attitude of heart. It is not simply decluttering and getting rid of stuff, although there is great benefit in clearing and removing unecessary items from our homes. Developing a habit of giving things away, buying things for their usefulness and not status, and not engaging with anything that distracts you from seeking the Kingdom of God will aid you in living simply.
There is no clear line indicating exactly how much is enough. Richard Foster describes simplicity in his book “Freedom of simplicity –finding in a complex world” as:
“an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle.” It’s “a life of joyful unconcern for possessions” and “the one thing that sufficiently reorients our lives so that possessions can be genuinely enjoyed without destroying us.”
Words of wisdom
“Where riches hold dominion of the heart, God has lost His authority” John Calvin
“If what we have we receive as a gift, and if what we have is to be cared for by God, and if what we have is available to others, then we will possess freedom from anxiety.” Richard Foster