The Discipline of Simplicity

Discussion Questions from DVD and chapter:

1. How would seeking the kingdom of God above all else produce the inward reality of simplicity?

2. What are some barriers to seeking the kingdom above all else?
3. Name some of your "many selves" that clamor for attention and make life more complicated. What ways have you explored for attempting to put them under the control of the divine arbitrator?
Discussion question from "Soul Talk" with Dallas and Richard:
How does simplicity allow one to be freed from the bondage of material things?
Favorite paragraph:
Plain speech is difficult because we so seldom live out of the divine Center, so seldom respond only to heavenly promptings. Often fear of what others may think or a hundred other motives determine our "yes" or "no" rather than obedience to divine urgings. Then if a more attractive opportunity, or a situation that will put us in a better light arises we quickly reverse our decision. but if our speech comes out of obedience to the divine Center, we will find no reason to turn our "yes" into "no" and our "no" into "yes" We will be living in simplicity of speech because our words will have only one Source. Soren Kierkegaard wrote: "If though art absolutely obedient to God, then there is no ambiguity in thee and . . . though art mere simplicity before God . . . . One thing there is which all Satan's cunning and all the snares of temptation cannot take by surprise, and that is simplicity." (p. 81-82)
Archimedes declared, “Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.”  Richard Foster talked about finding and clearly articulating an Archimedian focal point or “place to stand”) concluding that “We have such a focal point in the words of Jesus”:

Matthew 6:25-33 (The Message):

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.[1]

[1] Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Mt 6:25–34). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress. 


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