When I first read the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Kon Mari, to say I was turned off was an understatement. The idea of things bringing me joy felt weird, and counter Christian. While I had read to book to simplify my life, I was bombarded with questions about whether there were bible verses about simplicity and minimalism.
I wanted to know if it was something that Jesus spoke to specifically.
A quick study on minimalism (simplicity) led me to several bible verses which spoke about greed and false idols, (read: your things).
The real take away however was that in reading the bible I found less bible verses with Jesus talking about minimalism and simplifying life, and more examples of how he lived a minimalist life.
Jesus was available because he didn’t have anything to hold him back. He had no excuse or clutter in his life to get in the way of his ministry, and as a follower of Jesus, knowing what he did is as important as knowing what he said so that we can model our behavior after his.
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What Is Minimalism?
Depending on who you ask, you may get many definitions of minimalism. At the core minimalism is about intentionally subtracting everything from your life that distracts you from your mission and your calling.
Minimalism isn’t about owning less just for the sake of owning less. It’s about owning just the right amount of anything (and everything).
Minimalism is about fleeing the spiritual dangers of materialism, and embracing the value of simplicity. Living with less can be freeing. Simplifying life helps you live life on purpose.
Why should Christians care about Minimalism and Simplicity?
Have you ever avoided hosting bible study because your home is cluttered? Clutter and noise hold us back from being fully available to serve God the way he intended. We can’t host a small group because our homes cluttered. Can’t take time to go out for a coffee date with a friend in need because we’ve overfilled our to-do lists. We can’t give as much as we want to our favorite charities because we’re busy paying down massive amounts of debt.
We assume these problems are unmoving and resign ourselves to cluttered homes, busy lives, and unfulfilling relationships because we’re not sure how to make a change.
But what if you challenged that belief? What if you took a hard look at the obstacles that are keeping you from living out your faith fully? Can you live a more Simple and Free Life? How would your life look different?
What does the bible say about simplicity and minimalism?
If you are like me, you want to go to the official source of knowledge before you embark on any journey! The following list of bible verses about simplicity and minimalism will help you begin the journey to simplifying your life.
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.Matthew 6:19-21, ESV
Today’s society encourages us to focus on the items we own. Instead of applauding people for the way they serve or highlighting qualities of humility and simplicity we are taught to covet things, to work until we are burnt out and to continue to strive for more. God’s word encourages us to focus inward instead.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.1 Timothy 6:6-8, NIV
This verse reminds us that we started simply. When we were born we had God, when we leave this world if we focused on God, then we leave with him. Living simply gives you margin in your mind and heart to focus on God and to seek him.
Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”Luke 12:15, NLT
The measure of life isn’t in the things we have but in the measure of our character. We should be focused on whether our lives sing praises to the Lord. We should be focused on bearing fruit for the kingdom of God. We should not be focused on the things we own.
Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.Proverbs 15:16, NIV
Here we are reminded of what holds value in this bible verse about simplicity. If you have little, but you fear the Lord, you have everything! Wealth without God is worthless.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.Matthew 6:33, NLT
This bible verse about minimalism encourages us to seek the kingdom of God first. Trusting in God’s plan for our life and his provision allows us to serve him fully and allows us to see his goodness manifest in our lives.
When we stop striving to fill our lives with things and instead focus on the work he places before us we are more tuned to hear his voice.
Hearing his voice more clearly helps us to live a life that is full even without much.
Additional bible verses about simplicity to meditate on
When you decide you’d like to start living a life of intentional simplicity and pursue more minimalist lifestyle you have to change your mindset. Meditating on the word of God is the best way to transform your mind.
The following bible verses will allow you to continue your study of verses on simplicity and minimalism. You can print out a list of all 15 verses about simplicity here (no subscription necessary).
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Matthew 8:36, NIV
Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. Proverbs 16:8, NIV
As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them? Ecclesiastes 5:11, NIV
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10, NIV
Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 1 Timothy 6:17, NLT
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35, ESV
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7, ESV
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19, ESV
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11, ESV
Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. Proverbs 11:28, NIV
God wants you to live simply
It is impossible to focus on the things in life that matter when we fill life up with physical possessions and “stuff.” This often complicates life and keeps us from being able to embrace the quiet margins in life.
We end up striving for more, seeking to fill the space. This keeps things complicated and keeps us exhausted. God wants us to live a simple life. Not a life that lacks abundance, but hearts, and minds that are fixed on all he has for us and not what we can get for ourselves.
Many of us are running around trying to squeeze everything we can out of life when, in fact, we’d be a whole lot happier and healthier if we savored the beauty of simplicity!
Here are some tips you can use today to simplify your life:
Cut the Clutter
When you eliminate the clutter around you, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the things are dearest to you. There are many different methods of decluttering! As you declutter, consider what items you have used within the month, season, or year. Ask yourself honest questions about the items you need.
De-cluttering not only gives you the opportunity to enjoy what matters, but you will also feel relieved with an organized living and work space.
Enjoy Your Food and Make Mealtime an experience
So often biblically God gave the Israelite’s feasts as celebrations to remember his faithfulness. Nowadays the only real feasts we have are during thanksgiving. One aspect of simple living is to bring back the festiveness of mealtimes. Instead of making meals a quick run through event, savor the moment.
This starts from preparing your food with quality ingredients instead of processed or chemically enhanced foods. Spend time during grace to really give thanks to God for the things he has done, and then while eating,
Adjust your Thinking
Mental clutter has as much effect on our mental health as physical clutter does, if not more. A cluttered mind steers you away from what’s most important. The reality is that simple ideas are almost always better. By simplifying your thinking, you open your mind to new possibilities.
Many times this looks like focusing on one thing. Multitasking is a MYTH! No one can do more than one thing well at a time. Instead of trying to do all the things or think about all the things, focus on a single thing at a time. Complete that task well before moving on to the next.
Mental clutter that splits your attention in multiple directions makes it very difficult to make sound choices. The voice of God and his guidance is often drowned out by the voices of our worries. Additionally, if you’re dwelling in the past or worrying about the future, how can you live in the moment? Release distractions from your mind and you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll regain a sense of peace within you.
Organize your Schedule
One of the keys to simplified balanced living is to evaluate what you have and cut out what you don’t need. This is usually only considered with the things we own, but it can also be applied to how we spend our time.
Often we are trying to jam a million things into a single day. This leaves us exhausted and overwhelmed. This leads to preoccupation with all the things you have to do instead of being present where you are right now. Pro Tip: instead of wondering what’s next, savor the here and now.
Living life simply is extremely rewarding. When you do so, you eliminate many of the useless cares and are able to focus on what’s really important to you.
Ready to begin your journey to minimalism and start decluttering your home??
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