“We have a loving and giving God; we should not be a sedentary and stingy people.”
True spiritual disciplines are meant to connect us to others, not merely strengthen ourselves. Dr. Philip Nation explores the discipline of simple living – the idea that one can be completely, utterly content which what God has given.
“You fight this constant battle between contentment and craving.”
We live in a world where more is the norm, and it can be very challenging to resist the pull of materialism.
“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)”
Philip’s sons are 20 and 18 years old. He has an ongoing conversation with them about the latest smartphones and gadgets, and what it means to cling to Christ rather than technology.
“There’s always a new gaming console; there’s always a new widget; there’s always a new thing. And so simple living is this idea that I can be utterly and totally content with what God gives me. And I don’t have to lust after what somebody else has; I don’t have to crave after what the neighbor has… I can just simply be overtaken by that the fact that God has provided for me.”
After contentment comes generosity. Our giving is a natural way to express our love for God. Philip goes so far as to say that it should mark His people!
“The people of God should be the most generous people in the world. Believers ought to be contributors and participants in the lives of their friends and of their neighbors.”
It can feel like an encroachment on our security when a pastor or well-known Christian starts addressing the topic of money – but if we’re practicing the spiritual discipline of simple living, a discussion of money will be welcomed rather than avoided. There can be joy in giving!
“As Christians, it should be like a game to us. It should be a race to us, as to how can I out-give the pace at which God is giving me? And so when I am willing to live with contentment and simplicity, then giving becomes very second-nature because Christ is so alive inside of me.”
Dr. Philip Nation is the Director of Content Development with the Resources Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. He is also the Teaching Pastor for The Fellowship Church in Nashville and the author of Habits for Our Holiness.
Key Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 5:20
Featured Songs: Believe by All Things New; Healing is in Your Hands by Christy Nockels; Sinking Ships by Lincoln BrewsterHabits for our holiness