Simplicity: Living in excess tells you lies about what you want and need. But embracing a simple lifestyle helps you see past all that can clutter your life so you can discover God’s grace. Ask God to show you the specific ways your current lifestyle has complicated the faith He intends to be simple. Eliminate everything in your life that’s distracting you from focusing on what God considers most important. Build your priorities around those core values to experience the freedom God wants for you. Don’t make simplicity an end in itself, or it will only lead to legalism. Instead, simplify your life so that you can better pursue what God wants you to pursue – including giving generously to others. Don’t hold back any of your resources (time, energy, money, talents, etc.) from God. Make everything available to use as God calls you to use it to join His work on earth. Loosen your grasp on your hopes and dreams, trusting God to lead you into a better future than you can imagine on your own.

Submission: Whatever control and power you think you have is just an illusion. Recognize that God is ultimately in control of everything, and He alone gives you the power to do whatever you need to do. Resist the urge to assert yourself as God by trying to control your life. Instead, trust God with every part of your life, remembering His great love and kindness. Know that God truly wants the best for you. Let your gratitude for God’s love and your love for Him – not just a sense of obligation – motivate you to submit to His will for your life. Remember that God’s kingdom is a treasure that requires you to submit your life to His control in order to fully experience that treasure. Don’t make the mistake of viewing the resources God has given you as being just for yourself alone. That will perpetuate an unjust balance between you and other people. Instead, realize that God wants you to use your resources for His kingdom work. As you evaluate all God has given you, seek to be fully submitted to His will so you can respond in the very best ways to His calling for you.

Brokenness: Defiance and resistance to God leads to serious spiritual blindness. But when you allow yourself to be broken by the weight of your sin, you can see how much you truly need Jesus. Then, when you come to Him, Jesus will fill the broken pieces of your life with Himself. Recognize your ultimate need for God and leave everything else behind to have your needs met in God. Stop picking through the many kinds of trash that can poison your soul: consumerism, a sense of entitlement, bitterness, gossip, lying, sexual impurity, etc. Instead, recognize all of that as the garbage it is, and pray for the strength to eliminate it from your life so you’ll be free to start living the abundant life God wants for you. As God breaks sinful and destructive things in you, He redeems and restores you. God uses your brokenness to transform you personally, bringing you the healing you need. Then, He calls you into action to serve others, empowering you to transform the broken parts of the fallen world with His love flowing through you. So brokenness, with God, leads to wholeness.

Adapted from Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World, copyright 2008 by Christopher L. Heuertz. Published by IVP Books, a division of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill., www.ivpress.com
Christopher L. Heuertz is the international executive director of Word Made Flesh, an organization that exists to serve Jesus among the poorest of the world’s poor. Teaching, writing, speaking and pastoring, Christopher’s responsibilities have taken him to nearly 70 countries. He has also lived in Israel, India and Peru.