At first glance, simplicity and the Gospel don’t have much to do with each other, right? One has to do with decluttering your closet and clean white walls, and the other has to do with Jesus Christ and salvation. How closely could the two be connected?
Let me tell you about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t want to beat you over the head with evangelical political agendas or dried out doctrine, I promise. I just want to tell you what I know to be true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ says that God created a flawless world and created men and women in His image, including giving them free will and choice.
However, mankind chose to succumb to the lie that God was withholding good from them, and sin thereby entered the world. The perfect relationship between mankind and God was fractured.
Because God so deeply and incalculably loves His broken children, He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world to live the perfect life that we are incapable of living and die the death that we rightly deserve as the result of our sin.
Three days after Jesus’ death, He walked out of the tomb and destroyed sin and death. By His crucifixion and resurrection, we receive the staggeringly beautiful exchange of our despicable and dirty sinful nature for His glorious and radiant holy nature. Jesus gives us what we could never get on our own: life, freedom, purpose, worth.
So what does that have to do with simplicity?
The Gospel says that we are broken beings in need of a Savior. The Gospel says that Jesus stepped in and ransomed and redeemed us for His incredible purposes. The Gospel says that nothing else will save us or give us purpose. The Gospel says that Jesus is enough.
Yet we think worshipping a sin-sick world will make us well, when the only cure for sin-sickness is Gospel-goodness.
The world says that we can save ourselves if we do more/achieve more/get more.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ says that nothing we can do can save us.
The world says that we must prove ourselves to earn other people’s favor.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ says that we already have God’s favor.
The world says that we need MORE MORE MORE stuff/money/clothes/followers.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ says that the poor will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” We cannot seek “all the things” and expect to get the Kingdom of God thrown in. Seeking the Kingdom of God is a singular, simple focus that makes everything else fall into place.
One of my favorite analogies about the Gospel is called the “top button”: when you’re buttoning a shirt, you have to get the top button in the right place or else you’ll end up with a wonky hemline on your shirt. If you get the top button buttoned correctly, all the other buttons fall into place.
The Gospel must be our “top button” if we are to have simple lives. When we anchor our hearts and minds in the Gospel, everything else falls into proper alignment. Instead of trying to find worth or joy or happiness in possessions or schedules or relationships, we find it in Christ. Then - and only then - we are able to live simplistically.
Any decision we make is anchored in something. We choose to overload our schedules with commitments because we are anchored in the desire to please men. Our Target cart gets filled with things we don’t need because we are anchored in a mentality that possessions will make us happy. Our closets are stuffed with clothes that we bought to impress others because we are anchored in a lust for approval.
For the next several weeks, we’ll be exploring specific aspects of simplicity together. But it all starts here - with the Gospel. The inward knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done for us overflows into an outward reality of a simple life. I’m genuinely thrilled to be able to share with you, friends, and I’m so thankful that Val has allowed me to take over her blog while she’s on maternity leave! The next couple of weeks are going to be SO fun!