The Simple Life
You have one earthly purpose: To peel away the obscuring lies of this world so people can see God’s glory.
Chasing all the dreams of mankind, your nation or some worthy cause, or simply your own prosperity and comfort is evil. That is, unless those things are directly related to your calling in Christ. What makes it so deceptive for everyone is assuming those are things Christ promoted. He told us to pick up our crosses, not strive for any human measure of success. That means we look forward to dying at God’s whim.
No language offers words sufficient to shock you into the truth about this. All that I see and can touch as “mine” is nothing more than tools for the mission. Yes, I really do enjoy a lot of extravagant blessings from God, but they don’t have my heart; He does. The only hope I have is dying when God is ready to bring me Home.
When you really can embrace all that, it changes a lot of the things we do with our time on this earth. There is no need for amassing possessions, nor even a good name. If they come, we use them for the primary purpose already stated. If not, we still seek ways to get the job done. But so this job can be done, God offers a huge pile of promises related to how we go about this life.
When we take the covenants as a whole, we find God takes an interest in His own glory by supporting our obedience with tangible blessings. The very detailed specifics in the Law of Moses are simply a reflection of God’s character. Nothing in the Law pertains to your spiritual condition, though it does gain mention often enough. But you don’t need to be born again to understand the Law, nor what it offers as a covenant. You simply need to embrace the intellectual culture in which it was cast, and it all makes perfect sense.
Even after the Fall, the fundamental moral nature of Creation still lives and affects all things. You can ignore the Law and God and learn an awful lot about the observable mechanics of things, but you’ll never really understand what directs those mechanics until you wrap your mind around the moral imperatives not visible by mere scientific inquiry. Science as we know it utterly materialistic, and relentlessly amoral. But cast against God’s revelation, that simply means immoral. You’ll never understand life, the universe and everything unless you understand the logic of the Bible, the logic and epistemological assumptions behind it.
When you reduce things to their essence, you have no real need for most of what we see. That’s because almost everything man has accomplished is a desperate attempt to replace what we lost in the Fall. Adam was master of Creation as God’s agent. We cannot begin to grasp what that was like, but we can grasp the fact itself. We can feel some siren call drawing us to that mastery, but we can’t find a path without passing through God’s revelation. Our fallen condition rejects that, fears it, just is not able to go there. Only God Himself can make that happen. So we plumb the depths of our abilities to manipulate what we can do without taking that path. All that you see in this modern world reflects the bottomless desire to recover the peace, contentment and security Adam had in the Garden, and it won’t ever satisfy.
Instead, we go through endless cycles of raising up great civilizations, exhausting their genius, then stumbling into the downward spiral of collapse. Then we do it again. In the case of Western Civilization, the killing blow was manifested in the so-called Enlightenment. While that climax spun off many threads, each reaching their own peak independently, the philosophical fire itself had begun to burn out. Across the many generations, we see a particularly nasty civilization coming slowly to a particularly nasty and justified death. This is a time of tribulation, and the saints of God of will tribulate. We are here in the midst of the crumbling collapse, swept up in the debris of vast sorrows.
The best way to manifest God’s glory is to return to that First Century church lifestyle, insofar as we can understand it. We are the Tribulation Church of this age, and seeing all these things from the eternal perspective, we realize it was all about nothing. We who remember won’t miss it when it’s gone. Instead, we turn back to the most basic requirements for life according to God’s Laws, because in those Laws are found the best mankind can have in this fallen world. These are expressions of the very fundamental moral nature of the universe, as close as we can get to returning to Eden.
Not only can we say it doesn’t really take that much, we can assert with eternal finality it means tossing aside almost everything we know in our Western world. We pursue the most basic essentials of living on the bottom of the economy, intentionally slipping through the cracks, because the economy we see around us is corrupt — it’s Babylon. So we need only the essentials of food, cover from the weather, and basic health and security. If we stick to these basics in the full trust of God’s provision, He guarantees we shall have all these things, with abundant miracles if necessary, as a fulfillment of His promises from the very beginning of the Fall. A lifestyle in pursuit of much beyond this is departing from His umbrella of promises.
How this calls out to you, and what it demands of you individually is between you and God. It does not necessarily mean sleeping under bridges, but you should be open to that. For most of us seeking the full embrace of the First Century church, it means taking advantage of things currently within reach, so long as they don’t conflict with good discipline in the Body of Christ. There are no rules; the things covered so far in this series have been intentionally soft-edged. Some things are obvious; most are simply a matter of discernment. The whole point remains blocking out things which disturb your spirit, and working to uncover the hidden glory of Christ.
That glory shines through choices which simplify and reduce life to the necessities which God commanded from the very beginning.
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