Is living simply a biblical concept? That is up for high debate. At the center of the simplicity and minimalistic movement is a desire to eliminate the clutter for ‘your best life’ here on earth. Although that may seem like a worthy mission, I dare say it misses our biblical mark. Why? Let’s explore Bible verses about simplicity and the value it brings us and draw our own conclusions.
Why is living simply not biblical? Did I say that? No, I said that the desire to eliminate clutter for your best life here on earth missed the biblical mark. Why should believing Christians want to live a simple life? And should everyone want that?
Our mission here on earth is not to live our best life here, but to prepare to live our best lives in heaven. That is the key concept we need to keep in mind as we move on. Simplicity should help to cut the clutter of our frantic and busy lives here on earth so we can focus on our missions and values as we wait for our true home in heaven.
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What does the Bible Say about Simplicity?
The Bible is the living Word of God, and it is powerful. Does it have anything to say about simplicity? You bet your bottom boot it does!
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:19-21
Do you have affection for your stuff? It may be an awkward thing to contemplate, especially for those people who grew up in the church. The idea of things bringing us joy is very counter-Christian. We place value on our stuff because they bring us some measure of satisfaction or purpose.
I enjoy the pillows on my couch because they are quite beautiful. I went on a journey to find the perfect ones that wouldn’t get too dirty too fast with my active boys but would still fit my decor. I really like those pillows. I don’t have affection for the pillows, but I do have joy when my house is clean and beautiful.
In a roundabout way, with each decorating/organization choice that I make, I have some sort of affection because of the joy that my home brings me.
Yet, one of the most popular verses on simplicity tells us that the things we store up here on this earth truly have no value. They will someday be destroyed. Your stuff has They have no eternal value.
Those pillows on my couch have no external value. Why do I work so hard to bring beauty into my home then? It’s because of the people inside. I create a simple, beautiful, and healing home for my family. It is with trust, hope, and prayer that I trust this home will lead my spouse and my children to press in further to Jesus. Now that is of eternal value.
Simplicity is important for the Bible-believing Christian because it helps us clear the clutter of the world to focus more on our mission. Each person will have a slightly different mission and their mission may change throughout their lifestyle.
In one sense we all have the same mission: to gain heaven and glorify God. However, we all have slightly different God-given missions. Currently, I am raising two little boys (3, 4, and 7 months). Currently, I am attempting to work outside the home, build a business, homeschool, homestead, and raise my three boys while still investing in my marriage and managing the home. Finding simplicity in our busy schedule is no easy task. Simplicity does not always mean that our lives will look simple. Simplicity can look like slowing our lives down as much as possible while finding contentment in where God has called us.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.1 Timothy 6:6-8
What does the Bible Say about Minimalism?
What is minimalism? What is living simply? If you ask 20 people you will probably get 20 different answers to this question. It varies from person to person depending on their worldview and perspective on the issue. However, most will have one thing in common. Minimalism is removing some type of clutter from our lives. It could be material clutter, mental clutter, spiritual clutter, or worldly expectations.
The Bible seems to align with some measure of minimalism, simply because of verses like Matthew 6:19-21. Our treasures are not meant to be any sort of possession from this world, but instead of eternal value.
Let’s explore some more bible verses about simplicity and see if it continues to line up with this.
Want to take these verses a step further? This simple prayer journal takes many of these passages and puts them in an easy format to pray through as you consider the value of living simply.
Bible Verses about Simplicity
Here are 10 more Bible verses about simplicity that can guide you as you dive further into this minimalistic mindset.
I think we will find in these verses that simplicity and minimalism are not about owning less, but more about owning the right amount of what is important. It’s about cutting back on the varying types of clutter in our lives so we can be spiritually present wherever God is leading us.
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”Luke 12:15
What does life consist of then? I have been highly convicted that we are not taking our stuff to heaven, but the people around us are eternal creatures. Our investment should be in their lives, not in an abundance of possessions.
Better is a little with the fear of the LordProverbs 15:16
than great treasure and trouble with it.
The beginning of Psalms declares that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:33
Are you seeking first the kingdom of God? What does your morning routine look like? Do you roll out of bed with a to-do list, or with praise on your lips to your creator?
Better is a little with righteousness
than great revenues with injustice.Proverbs 16:8
I have often thought that I would rather be poor and happy than rich and unhappy. This verse points to the same type of concept, but instead replaces happiness with righteousness, which is a much better endeavor.
When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?Ecclesiastes 5:11
The theme of Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12 is about money and greed. Clarke’s Bible commentary does a very good job of summarizing verse 11:
When goods increase — An increase of property always brings an increase of expense, by a multitude of servants; and the owner really possesses no more, and probably enjoys much less, than he did, when every day provided its own bread, and could lay up no store for the next. But if he have more enjoyment, his cares are multiplied; and he has no kind of profit. “This also is vanity.” – Adam Clarkes Commentary on the Bible, 1967.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19
On the days that we long for more in life, this verse reminds us that what we truly need is already supplied to us as God’s children. You don’t need any more or any less. Trust in God’s provision for your life.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.John 6:35
The bread of life is Jesus! Now, Christ was not talking about physical hunger. He was talking about
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;Psalm 84:11
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
No good thing…that is a powerful statement. One that I have contemplated as I face life’s struggles. My conclusion is that once again God is soverign, and I don’t always understand that his vesion of good is for my life. There is comfort in being at peace with God’s simple plan for my life.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.Matthew 6:30-33
I have often thought of this verse in light of my self-image or worth, but this also can be a verse for simplicity as it eliminates so much of the riches and glamor of the world and focuses on God’s provision for our lives.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;Psalm 131:1-2
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
This almost seems like a bragging Bible passage. I have to smile as I read this passage. It would almost seem as the writer needs an extra dose of humility. Yet at the same time, perhaps he has learned how to simpfly his life and rely more fully and completely on God.
5 Steps for Godly Simplicity
Is godly simplicity something we should strive for? In short, yes; with this definition in mind:
Christian simplicity or minimalism is cutting back on the clutter of life to pursue the mission God has given you here on this earth.
- Spend time praying about what simplicity looks like to you.
- Discuss with your spouse what simplicity looks like for your family.
- Make a plan for decluttering and how to stick to your simple plan.
Beyond that here and some steps you can take to pursue godly simplicity in your life.
#1 Minimize the Clutter
If you decide that your home/life needs a little bit of physical decluttering, you can use my decluttering guide to start that process.
Decluttering does not need to be a stressful process. It can be done room by room and a little at a time. If decluttering overwhelms you, start with only 10 minutes a day.
#2 Focus on Mealtimes
The importance of mealtimes in a family really began to ‘hit home’ for me after reading Sally Clackson’s book The Lifegiving Home. It is an excellent read that I recommend to anyone who is seeking to bring more healing into their everyday homes.
Spend mealtimes with your family at a dinner table, it will make a world of difference in cutting back the clutter of life as you focus on the eternal souls that God has placed before you.
#3 Spend Time in the Word
Spending time in the Word of God is the best daily choice you can make. Prayer is powerful and time in the Bible is powerful. Make it a daily part of your routine and I can guarantee you will notice a difference in your attitude and mindset.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
#4 Adjust your Schedule
This one can be tough, especially in our busy culture. However, after the last few years that we have had, many families have adjusted their schedules to cut back on activities and commitments.
I just listened to a fabulous podcast from Pioneering Today titled, “7 Things We’ll Never go Back to Since COVID-19.” It is a fun reflection on how much the pandemic has changed how families think about their time.
The clutter of a schedule is just as taxing as the clutter of stuff. Simple living is much more than ‘stuff’ minimalism. Take inventory of how all areas of your life are affecting your ability to live simply.
#5 Revise your Thinking
Living simply is a mindset. It is a way of living that cuts the various versions of clutter in our life so we can focus on more important things. A good read on this subject is Courageous Simplicity: Abide in the Simple Abundance of Jesus. Living simply is often a life-long endeavor as we learn to abide by what Jesus offers instead of what this world offers.
The Best Way to Live Simply
Living simply is a life-long endeavor. Our seasons change in life, and we will constantly need to re-evaluate how we spend our time, talents, and material possessions.
Use these Bible verses about simplicity to evaluate your heart and motives as you live simply to pursue Jesus more.