Chapter 6 – Inward Simplicity: Holy Obedience
Three stages to discovering the simplicity of self-blindness. 1) Freeing ourselves from an ‘intoxication’ to material or outward things and becoming sensitive to the things of the Spirit, especially our inward condition. 2) Moving away from total absorption in ourselves and our eternal destiny and to being centred in the fear of God. 3) The natural calm and unpretentious exuberance of simplicity.
Fenelon – ‘With this purity of heart, we are no longer troubled by what others think of us, except that in charity we avoid scandalizing them.’ We do not have to be liked. We do not have to succeed. We can enjoy obscurity as easily as fame.
Genuine humility has a gentleness about it that is delightful.
We would do well to discipline our words to what is actually the case without embellishment or overstatement.
My major takeaways...
1. Not living by the standards of the world is truly a free place to live.
That we do not have to be liked and that we do not have to succeed, that obscurity can be enjoyed as easily as fame is so counter to everything society throws at us. It is a truly free place to live though. Continually and consciously in our thinking and actions we need to ensure that we are choosing to live with this attitude.
2. Simple living is not a life of phlegmatism.
It is not a place of no longer caring about what you do in life. Rather it is about caring so much about what you do in regards to obedience to the Holy Spirit, faithfulness to God’s word, and living the way of Jesus and the Kingdom that as long as there is authenticity in ones relationship with God that is the yard stick. No longer the standards of the world. This does not result in lethargic living but rather purposeful, measured, and sustainable determination.
3. What a virtue humility is!
When we live in this place we can begin to develop humility in our lives. True humility truly is gentle and delightful to be around. People with humility draw the best out of others, walk with confidence that is never overbearing or seemingly arrogant, and you so easily find yourself open to what they have to say. Think of the most famous or well educated person you know whom you actually enjoy spending time with, humility will be a major characteristic in their life. How much more effective would Christians be in reaching their neighbours if true humility was a common characteristic.
4. Simplify your speech.
That we so carefully need to watch our words. So much of what we say has the potential to be embellished and overstated. So much of what we hear, we know is embellished and inaccurate. Jesus instructs us to let our ‘no’ be ‘no’ and our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and not to make oaths. Is this because oaths are bad? No, it’s because if an oath is required then it implies we have two standards of talk. Oaths which are when we are being truthful and then the rest of our speech which may or may not be honest, trustworthy, or reliable. As Christians we don’t need oaths because all of our talk, all of the time, should be honest, trustworthy and to be counted on. This is a real challenge but a challenge worth embracing. Simplify your speech.