This January, we've been on a quest to clear the clutter from our overloaded lives. The truth is, time and money are limited for most of us. When it comes to finances, we're learning that Breathing Room means you don’t spend it all. In fact, you learn to live with less. Enough Is Enough.
The "American Gospel" says, "The more stuff you buy, the happier you'll be!" Did you know the average American is exposed to 4,000 ads a day? We rarely feel enough is enough... but what if more stuff actually means LESS? Less time...less joy...less financial freedom? In Luke 12: 16-21, Jesus tells the story of a farmer who was blessed with a bumper crop. He had no room to store all he had! This farmer had a super-saver mentality. However, Jesus calls him out for storing an abundance of stuff for himself:
"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" - Luke 12:20
Talk about a reality check! In the passage, Jesus draws a direct connection between our stuff and our spirituality. More stuff, less peace. More stuff, more to worry about. Less stuff, less worries. Less worry, more contentment.
If all your stuff was stripped away - and one day it will be - would Jesus be enough for you? He is the one who satisfies the hunger of our souls. See, simplicity is not a vow of poverty... It's calling out the lie of materialism and learning to live with less. The truth is, you can't live in the freedom Jesus died to give you if you stay stuck in a life of runaway spending. Create breathing room in your finances so that you can find peace, contentment, and freedom... all the things that money promises, but can never deliver!
So, how do you do it? Here are 4 steps to start embracing simplicity:
#1) Decide To Live On Less: If you want to raise your quality of life, you must lower your standard of living. Do the opposite of what the world says and make a disciplined decision to keep your standard of living low. Next up, you'll want to start tracking your spending.
#2) Track Your Spending: The truth is, most of us have no idea what percentage of our income we live on! Ignorance is jet fuel for runaway spending, so make this the year you finally figure out where your money is going. After that, you'll want to begin to practice simplicity.
#3) Practice Simplicity: Intentionally choose to live with less. Simplifying your finances, your wardrope, and your posessions helps make room for more of what you value most before God. If you're new to the idea, start simple by quitting impluse buying. Then, ask yourself: Do I really need this? You can even enjoy things without owning them, like borrowing a book from the library or going outside for a run instead of getting a gym membership. Last but certainly not least, you'll want to pursue contentment.
#4) Pursue Contentment: Notice pursuing contentment is not the same as the "pursuit of happiness". Remember, happiness is a temporary feeling. Contentment, on the other hand, is next level! In 1 Timothy 6:6 in the New Testament of the Bible, the Apostle Paul says that "Godliness with contentment is great gain."
If you have contentment in Jesus, you don't need anything else. Deep down in your soul, you'll know you are already the richest person on Earth... because you have an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ! What will you do to begin practicing simplicity in your life?