Friday, January 7, 2011

Biblical Simplicity: 2nd Peter

"For by what a man is overcome, by that he is enslaved" - 2 Peter 2:19
This morning as I was reading in 2nd Peter, this verse jumped out at me. It is just one example of many principles of simplicity that are found in the Bible.

There are so many things that we find ourselves enslaved by. Peter had been previously referring to "fleshly desires", "sensuality", and "corruption" but then he goes on to make this blanket statement: "for by what a man is overcome, by that he is enslaved".

What does it mean to be overcome? Paul talks about this very thing in Romans 7:14-25. In my own words, it means that our will (frontal cortex) is silenced in such a way that we do what we don't want to do, buy what we really don't want to buy, eat what we know we shouldn't eat, and leave undone the things that we actually really want to do.

The list of addictions that Satan has set up for our entrapment is long. For some people, it's possessions. For others, it's food. Sex, money, fashion, excitement, and fame are all high on the list as well. But enslavement to any of these is the opposite of living a "simple life, lived well".

Barry and I are seeking freedom from these things that enslave us. We may struggle with a different set of temptations than you do, but the principle is the same. We are choosing each day to do without in order to ensure that we never again become enslaved to money, possessions, or a host of other tempting allurements.

But you know, finding freedom from enslavement is much more than just living with less stuff. It involves a God who is big enough to break the chains when they are too strong for us to do it on our own. Barry and I have been at that place in our lives, and the road of simplicity that we are now striving to walk is one we are on only because God has loosened the bonds that held us.

Some people think that they can curb their addictions on their own. And many appear to succeed. But if God is not behind the change, they will always come up against bigger and bigger chains. This is what differentiates our blog on simple living from many that already exist.
We understand the source of enslavement (satan), and are fully committed to the solution (God).

If this is something you want as well, keep reading! We plan to write about the challenges we face, the decisions we make, and the lessons we learn along the way. We want to be exceedingly practical, but also address the spiritual and philosophical foundations for our choices as well.

For further study on the freedom that God gives, Paul outlines the solution more deeply in Romans 8. It begins like this, "Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Now if that doesn't sound like freedom, I don't know what does.

"Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?"
Isaiah 58:6

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