Welcome to the first post in my series on excess, possessions, their harmful implications for Jesus followers, and how paring down what we own and eliminating excess allows us to live to our fullest potential in Jesus.
If our lives contain excess and too many unnecessary possessions, we do are not able to delight in God and live for Him as He wants us to because we lack time, focus, and energy.
Let’s be completely honest. We live in a materialistic, possession-ridden, and consumer-driven world. It seems as though everywhere we look we are bombarded by advertisements for the latest gadget, possession, service, fashion, or lifestyle that all promise to make our lives simpler and happier.
Those are LIES.. Happiness is fleeting, and more does not equal simpler. Quite the opposite, actually. Why do so many people live in affluence and in a wealth of possessions and yet cease to have the joy-filled, blessed lives they try so hard to obtain for themselves?
The answer: excess and possessions. God is not honored when we put our stock in things of this earth and world. God is not honored when we allow ourselves to be defined by what we own, what we want, and by the toxic ideals of this world. God says as much, as you see in these verses:
And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.
The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
As you can see, humans have been driven by their uncontrollable need for possessions, their greed, and their worldly desires and passions far longer than you and I have been alive. This material drive is not something new that we are just now dealing with. God had lessons to teach about where people put their desires and what people allow to define themselves centuries ago, and His truths still apply today.
In God’s word we find the answers to these problems, and God’s response to the troubles and failings outlined in the verses above. Minimalism is not some New Age Humanist fad – God wants us to cast off everything that keeps us from Him, and an over abundance of possessions, as well as an excess of anything that does not directly honor God or line up with His will, block you from being who He wants you to be.
I am authoring this series because God has opened my eyes to where I fall short in the areas of excess and possessions. God is showing me that less really is more, because if I own less, I have more time for Him. If I cast off the excess that I have allowed to define me, I can be clothed in Him and allow others to see Jesus when they see me instead of, well, me. I am in no way an expert on God’s view of excess and possessions, and I am not an expert on God-led Minimalism and simple living. I am simply a convicted Jesus follower. I am writing this series very much for myself, to journal what God reveals to me in the areas of sin and excess. I can only pray that this series causes others to consciously think about their own lives, and hopefully act in areas where God tells them to change.
In my next post I will further outline the series, as well as provide some helpful reading and resources that supplement this series.
What do you allow to define you? Is there a possibility you have allowed your possessions to accumulate past a point that honors God?