Good morning and welcome to Day 2 of AVBSWGG <3
We kicked off our annual VBS for adults yesterday with an intro to the Spiritual Disciplines as gleaned from two of my favorite and well-used books:
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster*
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney**
I did a quick listing of the disciplines covered in these two books yesterday, but wanted to do a more accurate list based on chapters. Some are covered in both of the books and some are reworked or added/ommitted by Whitney’s work that is based on his study and application of the classic by Foster.
So here is the complete list based on chapter breakdowns, and I am using the one and two asterisk or “b” for both if they are in both books to help you:
Scripture Meditation (b)
Scripture Study (b)
Learning (**) – which goes beyond Scripture study
Since I assume anyone who hangs out here very much is already somewhat aware of our need to study and mediate on Scripture, the role of prayer in our spiritual growth and worship as part of our private and corporate walk of faith; I would like to touch on some of these lesser visited disciplines and how they have impacted me.
Today we will look at Simplicity as a discipline for the purpose of godliness.
Let’s start with the working definition for the heart of this discipline:
Simplicity: the state of being free from guile – innocent – free from vanity, free from ostentation or display. Directness of expression.
I always like to look at antonyms of words to better understand the meaning so an opposite of “simplicity” is “duplicity”, which means: Contradictory doubleness of thought, speech or action.
Thus as we practice simplicity, we begin to monitor areas of our life where we are speaking or acting in ways that do not line up with the inner life of honoring God that we are practicing with our disciplines of prayer, fasting, bible intake and such.
It is an attitude that reminds us we do not need to have everything we want.
We do not need to gratify every desire that arises.
It is the ability to discipline the mind to line up with what we know about God and His provision so that we begin to recognize when our expression through words, thought and action are beginning to veer from godly and single minded purpose and we are starting to live in that danger zone of “contradictory doubleness of thought.”
I think we can see where the fruit of doubleness might look like anxiety, striving, resentment, ingratitude, bitterness of heart.
Please note, those fruits may be caused by other areas of provocation or sin in our life, but if you are sensing these in your spirit, perhaps you could examine your heart and see if you are steering towards guile, vanity, ostentation or display instead of more godly thinking and acting.
These three statements and their converse may help you prompt a review of where your heart may be leading you astray:
Three inner attitudes of simplicity:
- I receive everything I have as a gift from God
- I acknowledge that it is God’s business and not mine, to be concerned about what I have. I know I can take precautions to steward what I have been given, but ultimately it all belongs to Him.
- My goods and possession are available to others and I do not fear the future and cling to what I have as my security.
Three inner attitudes that reveal a lack of simplicity:
- What I have, I have gotten or earned for myself
- What I have, I must hold onto
- What I have is not available to others.
This can apply to material goods or your reputation or your relationships or anything that you find you are grasping and holding on to instead of living open-handedly with.
So here is today’s activity:
Sit down with a piece of paper and imagine that you are leaving today to go to a remote place for a year. Start listing all the things, people, activities and responsibilities
that you think you cannot give up or do without or cannot carry on without you.
List as many as you can think of. You can even set a timer for 10 minutes.
Now go through the list and lift each one to God, releasing whatever it is into His hands.
Finally, go back over that list of three inner attitudes of simplicity and look at the items on your list. Perhaps you could thank God for giving you each one of them and then acknowledge they belong to Him and you are simply a steward of each thing. Once again, open your hands and offer each to God to do with as He has designed.
Now for your snack:
We had a sweet treat yesterday so here is something savory.
I learned this from our friend Dori when we were visiting her in Nairobi.
Feta Cheese Spread
Take a block of Feta cheese and brush generously with olive oil over the top.
Sprinkle some herbs of your liking – Italian blend, rosemary, basil, oregano – fresh is great but dried works too.
Bake at 350 until the cheese is soft and spreadable.
Enjoy with crackers or crusty bread slices.
So easy and delicious.
See you tomorrow <3