Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline writes, “Christian simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style.” He goes on to say that without an inward reality simplicity will lead only to legalism. Foster pens, “because we lack a divine Center our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things.” So we end up celebrating the lives of the rich and famous, while we ignore those who choose to live more simply for the sake of others.
Foster warns that simplicity is not to be confused with asceticism, which believes that the world and things of the world are evil. God created a good world for us. God intends for us to enjoy his abundant provision without making stuff into our god. Simplicity reminds us that seeking the kingdom of God first is where life is found. Anytime we seek stuff first it becomes idolatry.
Foster goes on to list ten outward expressions of simplicity:
- Buy things for their usefulness.
- Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
- Develop a habit of giving things away.
- Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
- Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
- Develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
- Look with skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes.
- Use plain, honest speech.
- Reject that which breeds the oppression of others.
- Shun whatever would distract you from the goal of the Kingdom of God.