Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Beauty of Simplicity

1 John 2:15-16
Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world."

In the past two days I have read three "Amish" novels by Wanda E. Brunsetter. I have this fascination with the Amish and a little dream in my heart to BE Amish. I know I can never be, but that doesn't hinder my fascination of them. I do believe though, that there is alot I can learn from them. Just reading these books the past few days convicted me of some things in my life. Funny, huh? A novel can convict someone of sin?

I had read through half of Proverbs the other night and do you know what one word stuck out to me as I read? LAZY. Yup? Of everything in Proverbs...all those little nuggets of truth and the only word that spoke to me was lazy. Could God be telling me something? And then to read these 3 books and see just how UN-lazy the Amish women are. I admire them. You cannot say that Amish women are lazy. I was convicted and inspired.

But that is not what I wanted to talk to you about today. I wanted to talk to you about something else I was convicted about. As I have been studying the Amish lately, one thing stands out in my mind about them. Yes, they have a LOT of rules for thier faith. Rules that up until a few months ago I thought were silly and pointless. But in my studying of their faith, I am beginning to realize that those rules serve a purpose that we all could take to heart. So maybe I don't need to wear dark dresses down to my ankles and a white prayer cap but there is something to be learned here.

In these books I read by Wanda E Brunstetter, I noticed many times the reference to living in the world and not of the world. They use this scripture to back up why they choose not to have modern conviences and extravagances. There was alot of talk about pride and graven images (idols) and placing importance on things rather than the Lord. While I do believe God gives us beautiful things to enjoy the question is...am I placing these things as more important then they should be? Might I take a hint from the Amish way of life? There is beauty in simplicity. Maybe I can enjoy God's creation more if I don't have my home filled with so many "things". Imagine how much beauty there would be in a simple bouquet of garden flowers if it didn't have to compete with all the crystal china and ornate "knicknacks" (for lack of a better word) It surely would help me enjoy God's creation more and man's creation less. (because, quite frankly, I do enjoy man's creation quite a bit and isn't that, in and of itself, a graven image?)

Last night I started reading for my devotions in 1 John. The verse I quoted above is the one that hit me. It was talking about the very thing I had been pondering all day. "Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you." Do I love the things this world offers me? "the lust for everything we see" Oh boy. Now we're hitting a little close to home. I continually look around my house and wish my husband made more money so I could have this thing or that thing to make my house more appealing. Maybe if everything coordinated better, then people would say "Wow! Anna's a wonderful housekeeper!" whenever they come over. Its all about me. Its all about how "good" my house looks. Its all about getting approval from man. Is that right? No. Its sin. My focus is not on the Father and doing His Will. Its on me, doing what makes me happy. WRONG! "and pride in our possesions" Okay. That hit the nail on the head. I must say that I LOVE my comforter in my bedroom. I even got the perfect color of paint for the wall to match the comforter. James bought me some gorgeous furniture that all matches. The lamps tie the whole room together. Whenever someone comes to my house, I always make sure the door to my bedroom is left open so if they need to use the restroom while they are here, they can catch a glimse of my perfectly lovely bedroom, because quite frankly, its the most beautiful room in my house. I am proud of my bedroom.

Am I saying that I need to get rid of the beautiful comforter? and the furniture? and the pictures on the wall? No. I don't believe that is what God expects of us. I do believe He wants me to create a lovely home for my family. God gives us good things for us to enjoy and use for His glory.(James 1:17) But there is a lesson here I can learn from the Amish. "Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you." I need to stop having lust and pride over material possessions. My Father must be first priority in my life. People must come next. That leaves no room for loving the things of this world.

My heart attitude must change. Lord, forgive me for having idols in my life. Forgive me for putting things more important than You. May You be the single most important thing in my life. May I seek Your will first and foremost. May I enjoy the creation You have set before my eyes for me to enjoy. May I not find the things of this world so enticing. May I enjoy Your simple beauty.

1 comment:

Bella said...

Thank you for that post. I can really understand what you are talking about. I certainly gained by reading that post.