Spiritual Disciplines: Simplicity
NOTE: This lesson was written as part of a retreat. For more information about the retreat, click here.
INSTRUCTIONS; The Individual Study of Session 3 consists of Spiritual Disciplines. If you are using this in a small group, each person of the group is encouraged to choose only one of the disciplines to do. The others may be done individually after the retreat is completed.
Simplicity: the quality of being easy to understand or use – not complicated, unsophisticated. What makes our lives complicated? The things that complicate lives are those that stand between God and us. Simplicity is living in dependence on God. Scripture reiterates that happiness is through relationship with God.
Preparation/ As you prepare to listen to God, find a comfortable, quiet place to sit, perhaps with a view of nature. Place your palms facing down, indicating a desire to release your concerns and anxieties to God. Name the things that are occupying your thoughts, and turn them over to God. Take a few deep breaths to relax your body. When you are ready, turn your palms up as an indication that you are ready to receive from God.
Read Deuteronomy 8/ Divide a page in your journal into two columns. In the first column, list the ways in which God provided for the Israelites. Include the promises given in relationship to the new land they are entering. In the second column, list the difficulties the Israelites encountered and how these were solved.
Read verses 11-20. Summarize the warning to the Israelites. How does this warning speak to their choices? What might that look like today? Do you see areas in your own life that complicate it unnecessarily? That seem excessive or out of balance? That need simplifying?
Prayerfully consider/ What in your life that make it hard to be dependent on God? Name in your journal these things, even good things, that are excessive or that you think you can’t live without. (Consider physical needs, things you own, abilities, relationships, recognition, roles.)
Identify some changes you can make to live life more simply and depend upon God to provide for your needs. (Some examples: no new clothes for a year; give a greater amount of your income to a church or charity for a year; limit your spending to a set amount each month, limit screen time, refrain from blaming others…) Write your decision/s in your journal and plan at least 3 action steps to simplify your life. To whom can you be accountable for your choices?
Pray/ for a heart that recognizes need and depends on God for fulfilling those needs. Pray for the strength and discipline to live simply in thankfulness and obedience to God.
Simplicity is a habit that must have both an inward and an outward manifestation. If it is outward only, we become like the Pharisees who did all the right things, but their hearts were in the wrong place –they did the right things for the recognition they received. If we think simplicity is inward only, we are deceiving ourselves. If one has the heart of simplicity, it will manifest itself in the choices we make and the way we live our lives. -Richard Foster
Other passages to study as you develop this spiritual discipline/ Mat. 6:25-31, 19:13-30, Ex. 20:1-17
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