“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Freedom of Simplicity

For a while now, I've been thinking about the discipline of simplicity. Haven't heard of it? Well, in the United States, it's not the most popular teaching. Lately, we've been hearing more about "Prosperity Doctrine." Richard Foster (1981) says, "Contemporary culture is plagued by the passion to possess" (p. 3).

Isn't that still so true?

I've been thinking about slowing down and appreciating what God has already blessed me with and be content. In the process, I want to become completely dependent and obedient to God. Foster (1981) explains that the Old Testament reveals two "radical" truths about simplicity. The first is "Radical Dependence" and "Radical Obedience." Becoming dependent on God causes us to put aside our independence. Instead of saying, "I can provide for myself". We have to say, "God, I will follow you and trust you". "Radical Obedience" is completely paying allegiance to God and Him alone. By radically obeying God, we are free to lay down our heavy burdens and stresses of life. We no longer strain and strive to get ahead or obtain wealth. Our goal becomes one of submission. The result is peace and...


Yes, blessing. Foster (1981) shows how over and over again God gives generously to His children. God gives His obedient children material blessing, too.

Doesn't that bring us right back to "Prosperity Doctrine?"

Well, no. The reason is simple: genuine obedience changes our hearts. Material blessing is no longer our focus. Foster (1981) explains, "Once this inner disposition has taken over our personality, material blessings cannot hurt us, for they will be used for the right purposes" (p. 20). We realize that the material blessing we receive is for the good of the community, not just us.

This is my desire- for God to transform my personality. May I be as faithful as the man with the 5 talents who invested his gifts wisely and gained 5 more talents (Matt. 25:14-30). Yet, may I be so radically obedient to God that my focus is on Him and not how he blesses me.

How about you? Are you willing to be radically obedient and dependent?

Foster, R. (1981). Freedom of Simplicity. San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins Publishers.

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