Minimalism is trendy and all the rage, but did you ever wonder if there are Bible verses about simple living? In my quest to work hard and create a quality life for my family, it was easy to get swept away by the current of the world’s culture and I soon found myself in a life I knew wasn’t working. It became apparent that I needed to get serious about simplifying my life. What I realized is that I had never considered what the Bible had to say about simple living.
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What Are Some Key Bible Verses About Simple Living
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
These verses and more in chapter 6 of Matthew, give us a foundational blueprint for living simply. Jesus is saying, “You don’t need to pile up stuff because I’ll provide for all your needs as they arise.” Read the entire chapter of Matthew 6 and meditate on how your trust (or lack of trust) in Jesus influences your need to accumulate stuff and money. Based on this chapter, how can you begin to live more simply
So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
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A key benefit to living simply is that you can pay attention to things that matter and to God’s voice when He wants to speak with you. When we are so busy and consumed with managing all the things in our lives, we are unable to hear God calling us. Notice in the verses above that God did not call out to Moses until Moses turned aside to look at the strange bush. Do you know that God is trying to get your attention all the time? Are you passing up burning bushes and God’s call on your life because you are too busy to notice or listen? Maybe it is time to simplify your life so you can hear God when He calls.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV)
Chapter 13 in 1 Corinthians is called the love chapter because it paints a picture for us of what love looks like in action. I don’t know about you, but when I am too busy and my life is cluttered I show little of the attributes mentioned above. I am not patient when I am living margin to margin. I am not kind when I am seeking after more and selfishness reigns. I am all too easily angered when I am stressed and I can hardly think of anyone else’s needs over my own.
Jan Johnson says “Hurry is what rips 1 Corinthians 13 out of the Bible.” When we’re stressed, busy, and living for tomorrow, we don’t have the capacity to love others well.
And envy–well let’s just say that when I am not living simply I am easily tempted to be envious of what others have. The thing about possessions and money is they never satisfy and enough is never enough.
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NIV)
Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6 (NIV)
Sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves if what we are working for is meaningful. If the promotion, the raise, the bigger house, the fancy vacation is costing us peace, rest, and health then all we are doing is chasing after the wind.
Our society is set up for stress, not simplicity. It’s designed for us to toil and it is not really compatible with a simple living lifestyle. Ecclesiastes has much more to say about all this so I encourage you to read it through carefully and ask yourself some questions as you ponder the possibility of simplifying your life.
Am I working for more or to simply meet my needs? Does my work take me away from my family and home too much? Is there something else I could do that would allow me to explore a simpler lifestyle? What am I exchanging for money, status, and possessions? Are those things I am willing to sacrifice? Is God tugging at my heart to live simply?
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Finding My Way to Simple Living – My Story
In an effort to get control over my life and reduce the crippling stress I had been living with, I began to address areas of my life that needed simplifying, like downsizing on our house in order to reduce our financial obligations and day to day stress. I started to declutter and say no to things in order to create white space and margin in my life.
I wanted to be less reactive about life and more intentional. What I found is that being intentional about the life you create is possible but it requires living simply. One cannot make intentional and thoughtful choices about life when living margin to margin and going full speed 24/7.
As I looked around, I saw that simplicity was not a quality heralded in our modern culture. The more I’ve learned about what the Bible says about simple living, I’d like to propose that it’s time to reclaim a simple lifestyle. Simple living and practicing the spiritual discipline of simplicity has allowed me to live an authentic life of faith, a life of purpose, and a life that is truly a full life.
A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life. Proverbs 13:7 (MSG)
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How You Can Apply Bible Verses About Simple Living to Your Life
If you are starting out on the journey of living simply, start by examining the Bible verses about simplifying life. As I now say, simplicity is an inside job, so starting with the heart and soul of the matter is a wise choice.
You can declutter all day long, Marie Kondo your way to organized drawers, and even create a capsule wardrobe, but if you don’t understand the soulful issues and biblical reasons for living simply, you’re probably not going to stick with it.
The sway of this world is strong and keeping up with the Joneses has always been a thing. It’s important to know your why for simplifying your life. Grabbing hold of your deeper why will help you establish soulful and practical habits for living simply and with intention.
We’ve examined some bible verses on living simply but there are so many more and I encourage you to dive deeper by studying these verses and more as you craft your simple life. In addition, there are some wonderful books to help you develop the habits of simplicity in order to find what I call your simple–that place where you know you are living aligned with your values. Or, as Joshua Becker says
Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts from it. It is a highly personal journey that forces us to identify and articulate our highest values. Because of that, it is always going to be practiced differently by each individual.”
More from our Bible Truths Series:
- What Does the Bible Say About Procrastination
- What Does The Bible Say About Laughter
- What Does the Bible Say About Loving Like God
- What Does the Bible Say About Drinking Alcohol
- What does the Bible Say About True Manhood
Additional Bible Verses on Living Simply
God's blessing makes life rich; nothing we do can improve on God.” Proverbs 10:22 MSG
Work six days and rest the seventh. Stop working even during plowing and harvesting.”Exodus 34:21
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” 1 John 2:16
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”Philippians 2:3
Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2
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Popular Books on How to Simplify Your Life
If you are looking for some more great reading on the topic of simple living, you should definitely check out some of the following:
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo
- The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life, Francine Jay
- The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own, Joshua Becker
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown
- Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World, Brooke McAlary
- Abundant Simplicity, Jan Johnson
A wonderful benefit of learning to let go is that your hands are open to receive. I hope that as you read and meditate on these Bible verses for living simply, you will see that God has so much more to give you than you could ever imagine. If you will make room for him by letting go of the things that get in the way of seeking a simple life, you will see that simple living is truly the path to abundance.