This One Thing
The Discipline of Simplicity
The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary says, “Simplicity is similar to sincerity. A simple person is one who is open, honest, and direct, without hypocrisy.”
In the book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster says a few things about this discipline.
Simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle. He continues, Simplicity is freedom, duplicity is bondage. Simplicity brings joy and balance; duplicity brings anxiety and fear.
One of our key verses is:
Matthew 6:33 ESV
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
This really made me hone in on one thing that is essential to our Christian life - seeking Him first.
Psalm 27:4 ESV
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
Psalm 27:8 ESV
8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
This seeking and staying in His presence can be illustrated in a greater way, when we look at the story of Jesus, Mary, and Martha.
Luke 10:38–42 TPT
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. 40 But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.” 41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? 42 Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”
So, based on these scriptures I want us to focus on a few things.
The word instructs us many times to Ask, Seek & Knock:
Matthew 7:7–8 ESV
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Luke 18:1–8 TPT
1 One day Jesus taught the apostles to keep praying and never stop or lose hope. He shared with them this illustration: 2 “In a certain town there was a civil judge, a thick-skinned and godless man who had no fear of others’ opinions. 3 And there was a poor widow in that town who kept pleading with the judge, ‘Grant me justice and protect me against my oppressor!’ 4 “He ignored her pleas for quite some time, but she kept asking. Eventually, he said to himself, ‘This widow keeps annoying me, demanding her rights, and I’m tired of listening to her. Even though I’m not a religious man and don’t care about the opinions of others, I’ll just get her off my back by answering her claims for justice and I’ll rule in her favor. Then she’ll leave me alone.’ ” 6 The Lord continued, “Did you hear what the ungodly judge said—that he would answer her persistent request? 7 Don’t you know that God, the true judge, will grant justice to all of his chosen ones who cry out to him night and day? He will pour out his Spirit upon them. He will not delay to answer you and give you what you ask for. 8 God will give swift justice to those who don’t give up. So be ever praying, ever expecting, just like the widow was with the judge. Yet when the Son of Man comes back, will he find this kind of persistent faithfulness in his people?”
One article explained it this way:
Ask, seek, knock. Notice the three different senses being considered here. Asking is verbal; Christians are to use their mouths and petition God for their needs and desires. And believers are to seek with their minds—this is more than asking; it is a setting of priorities and a focusing of the heart. To knock involves physical movement, one in which the Christian takes action. Although asking and seeking is of great importance, they would be incomplete without knocking. The apostle John said Christians ought not to love in word alone but with actions also (1 John 3:18). In the same way, it’s good to pray and seek God, but if one does not also act in ways that are pleasing to God, all is for naught. It’s no accident that Jesus said believers should love God with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27).
So, what does this mean?
• What are you asking Him for?
• What are you seeking after?
• How are you moving forward in obedience?
The next truth I want to focus on is dwelling or abiding -
David, the man after God’s own heart saw this. He wanted to wait.
He knew that that’s where the Great Exchange took place.
Isaiah 40:31 ESV
31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like waiting around much. Traffic is pretty bad, but the waiting room at the Dr’s office has to be one of the worst, right?
As I have been thinking about this, I realized eventually I will be seen, the doctor will analyze my symptoms, etc and then I am given a prescription or action to follow
but listen, here’s what I felt the Lord say to me here - this can be applied to when we are waiting in faith. It can seem like it takes forever (and maybe it does), but you WILL be seen. Instead of seeing a doctor (which is not bad), you see the Great Physician. He doesn’t guess, He knows. Still, will you follow His prescription or actions that He asks you to follow for true wellness?
We don’t even get here, to this point, without understanding how to wait in faith.
Psalm 27:4–6 NLT
4 The one thing I ask of the LORD— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. 5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. 6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the LORD with music.
The last area of focus for today is on “all these things”
If you read Matthew Ch 6, you find that Jesus was really trying to teach them about their source and where all their hope should reside. It wasn’t on stuff; He knows what we need, and He is our great provider. We can see it in the verses we read in Luke ch 10 as well.
As I mentioned last time, I wanted to repeat it until we truly understand:
A profound thought in the Celebration of Discipline book is, “The discipline of Simplicity provides a greatly needed perspective in our lives. It sets us free to receive the provision of God as a gift that is not ours to keep & can be freely shared with others.”
April and/or Robert to share about Amber coming back from missions each time and getting rid of stuff.
Just in-case you don’t know - this isn’t the same as the minimalism trend. It’s found in the secret place, where you spend time with Him. It’s seeing your relationship with Jesus with a renewed wide-eyed wonder of a child and yearning to go deeper with Him. It’s this transformation that we need, and you don’t have to wait for a foreign mission trip to do that for you, He’s here, right now!
Closing Thoughts & Prayer -
Have you taken time in the waiting room, trusting in faith and heeding the word of your Great Physician? Did you know that you can be healed, you can be free, today?!
If everything was to end today, would you be greeted into your heavenly home by the father? I invite you to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, right here and now. Don’t wait!