Simplify your life
Luke 21:28 (NIV) “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
We all can feel the anticipation, the excitement, and the expectancy in the air. Something is happening. Something is changing. What exactly is it? What are we looking forward to?
Isaiah 60:1-4 (NIV) says, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. “For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. “Lift up your eyes roundabout and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. “Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you”
Isaiah is prophesying about the future of Israel, but this prophecy is also for the church. This is how things will happen in these last days. We will shine! People will come to us! God is asking for a greater commitment from His children. We need to get serious about Kingdom business. Derek Prince, in his book “Prophetic Guide to the End Times: Facing the Future without Fear,” tells us,
“We often hear it said, ‘God wants our time, our talents, and our money,’…if we give these to God and think we are doing God a favor, we deceive ourselves. God is really saying, ‘what I want is you! And when I have you, I have everything you have.’ In these closing days, God is not going to settle for a lesser commitment. We need to ask ourselves; have I ever totally given myself to God without reservation? Have I placed myself at His disposal? That is commitment.”
Psalm 110:1-3 (NIV) “The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb”
I love the way that is worded. “Your people will volunteer freely!” Isn’t that our desire? To do something wonderful, something big, for God? So what is stopping us? In praying about this, God showed me several things that seem to hold us back, but I kept coming back to this one thing. We, especially in the Western World, are too busy. We run here, go there, sign up, make commitments we can’t keep, and wear ourselves out being so busy. So today we are going to focus on how to simplify our lives.
How many of us watched the “Little House in the Prairie” or read the books and dreamed of a simple life? Sure they didn’t have the modern conveniences that we have, but they had a more precious commodity…time. They worked hard, but they weren’t rushed or stressed. Choices were fewer, obligations were fewer, and their expectations were fewer. How many of us lose sleep over our hectic schedules or feel overwhelmed with life? Be honest, how many of us cringe inside when we hear about another service, an extra class, or some other thing that should excite us, but our minds scream “how can I do one more thing?!” Then we feel guilty, throw ourselves into another obligation, sometimes only half there, half awake, and half committed, only to feel disappointed in the results? This isn’t God’s plan for us.
So what is robbing us of our time? It is more complex than we think. The root is in our priorities. What is important? You would be surprised what is important if you would take a closer look at your life. Let’s look at Luke 21: 28 again. “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” We need to start here. In the same book mentioned before, Derek Prince says,
“Jesus does not say, ‘Be frightened’ or ‘look for a hiding place.’ He does not say to plans some method of escape and concentrate on survival. His attitude is look up. Things are going to get better. It is very important that we who are God’s people present to the world the picture of confident assurance. (That will impress them, and will make them want to know what we have that they don’t)- enabling us to face these pressures and crisis with calmness and confidence.”
How much of what we do is out of fear, or trying to survive? How many times have we said, “if I can just get through this day, week, month? These thoughts make us run, or hide, or both. We keep ourselves busy so we don’t have to face reality. We think if we can just get the latest new (phone, game, clothes, house, car, gadget, etc) thing, that life will be easier, better. That just isn’t true. When we live like that, we have jumped onto a merry-go-round made by Satan! His plan is to keep us distracted, self-centered, wore out, and trying to do it all in our own power.
That is not God’s plan for us. He wants us to have time for ourselves and our families. To have things we enjoy having and doing. But God never intended those things to rule us or take control of our lives. How can we be committed to Him in the way we need to if we are short on time, short on attention and just plain short on energy? He wants the commitment, expects it. So we need to make some changes.
Let’s prioritize. First make a list. What is the most important things to you? What do you place the highest value on? What are your goals in life? We need to make time for these things. List the top ten. Now take a closer look and cross one of the list. Think of it as surgery. We are cutting of the tumor, the parasite that is stealing your life. I know it is scary, but we all agreed that something needs to give, something needs to go. It is time to start making choices.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT) “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
We have choices to make. Is it part of or important to God’s plan for my life? If the answer is yes, then keep it. If the answer is no, delete it. Simple. Not easy to do, but good for us.
Here is a short list of things you need to consider. There are great websites and book on simplifying your life. Find some, and read them. Most importantly, pray about it and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where the weeding needs to be done.
• Evaluate your commitments
• Evaluate your time.
• Simplify tasks.
• Learn to say no.
• Limit your communications (twitter, facebook, snapchat, iphones, etc) and simplify your computing life.
• Limit your media consumption.
• Purge your stuff and simplify your wardrobe.
• Limit your buying habits.
• Free up your time.
• Spend time with God.
• Spend time with people you love.
• Slow down. Your driving, eating, and any other area where you rush. Give yourself more time for tasks.
• Establish routines. Create a workable system for housework.
• Learn to live frugally. Consider a smaller home, a smaller car, a smaller yard. Live closer to work.
• Do something you love, have a creative outlet.
• Go for quality, not quantity.
• Don’t over schedule your day! Leave time between appointments.
• Whenever you are faced with a choice, ask yourself, “Will this simplify my life.” Always be sensitive to the voice of God, because often He asks us to do things that will stretch us.
This is a great start. Don’t try to do it alone! You need God’s help and guidance to do it. Sometimes we will need to do radical surgery. Other times we need to take baby steps.
One of my favorite sayings is: “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
Living freer, having more time for God, and building a stronger commitment to Him will so be worth it!