This I choose.

sim·plic·i·ty. 

1. absence of luxury, pretentiousness, ornament, etc.;

2. freedom from complexity, intricacy, or division into parts

 

I wrote once about simplicity…seeking answers and wanting to know and understand what that means for me. Questioning how to run from materialistic idolatry, and yet have gratefulness for blessings. Wanting to fully grasp what it means to live with and steward the things that I own. I still question. I still wonder. And I am still seeking. But the more I seek, the more I understand.

I think that my life often becomes inverted to myself; slowly I begin to live for my status or for my things or my job or my relationships and I begin to worship the very things I have been blessed with. These things aren’t bad at all…they are gifts from God himself. But if I turn and live for them instead of the Creator and the One giving blessing, it becomes idolatry. Matthew 6:19-21 warns against laying up treasures on the earth where they will be destroyed; but instead we are to lay up treasures in heaven. A few verses later it says that we can’t worship God and money. I don’t want to live my life serving other idols and worshipping other gods and pursuing things that really don’t matter and will fall away. What a waste!

But it’s not just about having less or giving it all away or moving to lower ranks. Those things don’t entirely stop the obsession with things, the worship of stuff, or our deep internal longings for high status.  I believe simplicity begins with a belief, a choice, a state of heart.  Simplicity isn’t so much a state of having or lacking, but a choice to worship and live for One thing. One God. To choose simplicity is to choose denial of self and to become radically obsessed and consumed with the One for whom we are living. To brush everything else aside and simply live with one purpose. The reality and authenticity of these choices and beliefs about simplicity can be observed by the resulting actions. I ask myself, “If I truly am following Jesus and if I truly am seeking to worship Him only, shouldn’t my actions reflect that? Shouldn’t the fruit of this simplicity and worship be reflected in the way I spend my time and my money and my breath and my words? To spend not for myself or my own pleasure, but for the glory of the one who blessed me with these hours and dollars and the very air I breathe as I speak?”

That is the simplicity I want. That is the simplicity I choose. 

 

 

 

This is not Abba

“A false and illusionary notion of God…sees God as someone who is gracious to me when I am good, but who punishes me relentlessly when I am bad. This is a typical patriarchal notion of God. He is the God of Noah who sees people deep in sin, repents that He made them and resolves to destroy them. He is the God of the desert who sends snakes to bite his people because they murmured against Him. He is the God of David who practically decimates a people because their king, motivated by pride perhaps, takes up a census of his empire. He is the God who exacts the last drop of blood from his Son, so that his just anger, evoked by sin, may be appeased. This God whose moods alternate between graciousness and fierce anger, a god who is still all too familiar to many Christians–is a caricature of the true God. This God does not exist. This is not the God whom Jesus reveals to us. This is not the God whom Jesus called “Abba.”  ”

-William Shannon

 

Father, Abba, Daddy, I want to know you. I want the REAL you and not a false caricature. I want YOU. I know in my head that you are the Father, and I know in my head that I am your child; but I don’t understand that kind of love. I want you to come near to me and love me with the tenderest love and deepest compassion. I want to be held and kept in your love. Oh Abba, I long for you.