Editor's Note:
The following is a report on the practical applications of Christopher L. Heuertz's new book,
 Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World, (IVP Books, 2008).

God wants it to be simple for us to recognize Him at work in the world. But too often, we complicate our faith, obscuring our view of God.

If you want to see God more clearly, you can gain a better perspective by developing these simple yet profound qualities in your life:

Humility: Getting rid of pride and arrogance in your life and inviting God to humble you will wake you up to the reality of God’s work all around you. Take ownership of your inadequacies, weaknesses, and needs. Acknowledge how much you depend on God’s unconditional love for you, and express your gratitude for it. Get to know people who have endured humiliation – the poor, the sick, the disabled, etc. – and learn from their vulnerability. Serve them, and let them help you see what intimacy with God looks like as He meets their needs through you. Stop trying to limit or control God’s work; accept that God will be God on His terms, not yours. Allow yourself to be made uncomfortable by God’s work in your life, so you can be transformed by it. Remember that humility is the door through which you must enter to be welcomed into God’s presence. Rather than trying to keep God at a safe distance, tell God that you want to surrender to Him completely so that you can come to truly know Him. Don’t waste your time or energy on trying to impress God. Instead, know that it’s enough simply to be yourself before God, and that God sees your humility as a beautiful response to His invitation to intimacy. Remember Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross often, and let His great gift of salvation humble you. Understand that you’re worthy of God’s love only because He has made you so – not because of anything you’ve done – and He will treasure you forever, no matter what.

Community: Independence can blind you to the reality that you need God and other people. Participating in a community helps you discover who you truly are – both the best and the worst of you. It exposes your sin and gives you a place for confession, acceptance, and grace. Realize that you’ll get out of community what you put into it. So fully participate in community with others. Keep in mind that the sense of community in God’s kingdom is different from the messages the word presents about community. Reject the world’s lies: “I am what I have,” “I am what other people say about me,” and “I am what I do.” Instead, embrace the reality that you’re valuable because God has ascribed great worth to you, regardless of what you have, what others say about you, and what you do. Let the truth of God’s unconditional love validate you and free you to enter into healthy relationships with other people whom God loves. Instead of trying to avoid relationships because they can get messy, open your heart to the experiences God wants you to have in community with others. Ask God to help you recognize Him when you encounter people in great need, and to motivate and empower you to reach out to them as He intends. Give generously to others as God lead you to share your time, talents, and money. Rather than just giving from your leftovers, try to give the best of what you have. Instead of just giving handouts, try to empower poor people. As you give, be sure to build genuine relationships with the people you’re seeking to help. Befriend the poor, and learn from them, allowing them to give you wisdom as you give them the resources they need. As you help others, you’ll receive help yourself.