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The Goal of Simplicity


The book, Simple Life, describes four areas where Americans struggle most. Those areas as I have previously mentioned are time, money, relationships, and connecting with God. As I thought about Rainer’s research and the list that was discovered, it occurred to me that the Ten Commandments cover the same essential content. The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 20:3-17, and deal with
1. The exclusive worship of God and the rejection of idols;
2. The provision of rest through the declaration of Sabbath;
3. Prioritization of family established through honoring parents and spouse;
4. Material possessions are put into perspective as appropriate value is described.

So then, why were the Ten Commandments given in the first place? I believe the answer is found in the preamble to the Ten Commandments: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.” (Exodus 20:2, NLT)

The Law was not given to be an end unto itself. The Law is not a set of rules established to restrict you or bind you. The Law was given to set you free, not to make you legalistic. Like the Law, simplicity can become a dangerous thing. Richard Foster calls simplicity the most public and outward of all spiritual disciplines. He adds that simplicity can be dangerous because it can easily become an end unto itself.

In my new series titled Enough, I want to examine what the Scriptures say about simplicity. Here’s the disclaimer: if we seek simplicity for the sake of simplicity, we’ll land in deep legalism. Simplicity cannot become an end unto itself. The end game cannot be for any other purpose than for the purpose of freedom. If simplicity becomes a point of pride, or if it’s used to elevate one’s self, or if it’s used to become a standard of judgment that is wielded against other people, then it has diminished into legalism. The goal of simplicity is not simplicity. The goal is freedom.

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