Busyness is the new normal in American society. And life seems to become increasingly more complex with every passing year.
No one understands this reality better than college students. Noah Tate, a native of Denver, Colorado, is currently a senior at Oakwood University facing the daily challenges of balancing the demands of his pre-law and political science studies. He’s also earning a minor in correctional sciences, along with participating in various activities on and off campus.
While Tate is grateful for the support of extended family and friends, sometimes life just piles up on him and it all seems a bit overwhelming. During those times, he reminds himself of the value of slowing down and prioritizing.
“The simple life gives testament that through our faith, consistency breeds true prosperity in our journey of life,” he states.
What is the simple life?
Throughout our history, Seventh-day Adventists have promoted a simple lifestyle. We are called to be a godly people who think, feel and act in harmony with biblical principles in all aspects of personal and social life.
While magazines, commercials, books and Pinterest boards promise endless tips and secrets for living a simple, organized, contented life, it doesn’t take long to realize that all their tips and tricks can leave us with more to do, buy and long for.
Maybe the simple life doesn’t have anything to do with stuff. Perhaps God’s Word holds the only secret to the simple life that we need.
Good reasons for living simply
Getting back to basics requires not only a change in behavior, but also a change in mindset. It requires us to no longer view Christianity as only a means to obtain earthly possessions or heavenly salvation, but as a way to achieve holiness.
Many would argue that striving for holiness means becoming a legalist or a Pharisee, but in fact that is not true. Striving for holiness actually shows that we truly understand the point of the gospel. It shows our purpose as disciples of Christ is not just to make it to heaven, but our focus is to live as God designed—in accordance to His will.
To be honest, most of my efforts are focused on working to earn money, trying to get a better opportunity, a better car, a better house and other earthly treasures. Not only are my efforts focused on those things, but so are my prayers. I can’t remember the last time I prayed not just to be saved, but to be holy and obedient.
It’s a humbling admission to say you’ve been a Christian for all the wrong reasons, but I think that kind of humility is exactly what God wants. He wants us to recognize we’re flawed so we turn our faults over to Him. He wants us to realize we’ve been doing things the wrong way, so He can instruct us on how to do them the right way. It ultimately comes down to obedience.
The Bible is filled with stories of individuals who chose obedience to God and the simple life over material excess. A good story from the Old Testament that illustrates this is the life of Joseph. He certainly had his share of hard times and difficult situations, but he was guided with the simple principle of obeying God and doing right by those around him (Genesis 37-50).
How can I live a simpler life?
The beginning of a new year is a good time to take a new look at the simple life. I’m here to tell you that simplifying doesn’t need to be complicated. I’ve learned that taking small steps is the best way to make it happen. With that in mind, here are some ideas to help you on your own journey to simpler.
Start the day with God. Nothing sets the tone of your day more than your morning meeting with God. “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray” Mark 1:35.
Slow down. Know when to take your foot off the gas and rest a little. “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’” Matt. 11:28.
Declutter physical spaces. Getting rid of extra items you no longer use will help declutter your home, your emotions and your thoughts. “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little” Phil. 4:11-12.
Learn the power of saying No. You can’t do it all, so why try? “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world” Ps. 46:10.
Put your phone down! Pause the steady scrolling and liking and sharing and take a mental decluttering break. “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” Matt. 6:33.
My prayer is that we all get back to the basics of Christianity, which is humbly submitting our will to God’s and following His plan for our lives. You can start today!
Back2Basics magazine (B2B) promotes a deeper relationship with Christ, reading, writing, creativity and freshness.
The Bible is sometimes referred to as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. B2B uses the Bible as the foundation for content and presents it in a fresh and creative way.
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