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Minimalism from a Biblical Point of View —

Biblical Minimalism© is "a complete, whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus, a letting go of everything that hinders us from following Him wholeheartedly and single-mindedly, and a relinquishing of all that brings us under bondage to this earthly, very temporary life." Cheryl E. Smith

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Whole-Person Pie©

Is your life cluttered?  Do you feel out of balance?  Overwhelmed?  If you really want to change and begin the pursuit of aligning your life with the way Jesus lived His, you have to start somewhere.  I believe the place to begin is to identify what needs to be minimized.  As you walk through this process, you may find that there are excess and imbalance in every category of your life.  Don't be discouraged or let the discovering of this reality deter you from your goal.  Taking an initial assessment will give you a true picture of where you really are, and that is the first step to living the free and abundant life God wants you to live.  You are doing a wonderful thing —for yourself and for the ones you love.

In my last post, I said Biblical Minimalism is "a complete, whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus, a letting go of everything that hinders us from following Him wholeheartedly and single-mindedly, and a relinquishing of all that brings us under bondage to this earthly, very temporary life."

So, what constitutes a "whole-person release of anything unlike Jesus?"  What does that look like in real life in a day and time that is consumed with excess, a "more is better" mentality, and an "if it feels good to the flesh, do it, buy it, and deny yourself nothing" mindset?  Excess consumerism and this mentality and mindset are polar opposite the way Jesus lived His life and wants us to live ours, and we are continually left with an ever-present choice.  Will we deny self, minimize the excess, take the road less traveled to follow Jesus, or will we succumb to the demands of this materialism-driven world?

There are many facets to each one of our individual lives, and for the sake of the subject matter of Biblical Minimalism, I have reckoned those parts to a whole pie that is divided into eight separated, distinct "slices" that are common to us all.  I truly hope this plain and practical way of viewing your life will prove to be beneficial and help you identify areas that are out of alignment with Biblical standards or are in need of pruning and adjustment.  Below the chart, I have listed an introductory description of each category, along with some brief examples of things that may need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely eliminated.  Obviously, these lists are inexhaustive, every life and situation is different, and each person must lean wholly on the Holy Spirit for individual guidance.  Lord willing, in future posts, we will devote attention to each distinct "slice" in more detail, one at a time.

As you are reading through, perhaps you will want to think about, of these eight categories, what part of your life feels most out of alignment with the way Jesus lived?  What area of your life feels most overwhelmed and overloaded with excess?  What bothers you most?  In each category, what, in your life, needs to be released and minimized?  

Spiritual - 
This category has to do with our individual relationship with God and matters of the soul and eternity.  
Examples of things that need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely laid aside?  Sin, anything we are doing or holding on to that is not pleasing to Christ, spiritual hindrances.

Physical - 
Material possessions, clutter, disorganization, physical body, health, obesity
Examples of things that need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely laid aside?  Things we no longer need or use or want, unnecessary possessions, excess body weight, habits that are detrimental to our physical health.  

Mental - 
Thoughts/patterns of thinking, perspective, psychological intimidation, motives, anything to do with the mind
Examples of things that need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely laid aside?  Every stronghold, every thought that is not in obedience to Christ, lies from the enemy, negative thinking and outlook, self-loathing, worry, anxiety

Emotional - 
Triggered natural responses to events and circumstances, matters of the heart
Examples of things that need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely laid aside?  Weighted negative baggage from our upbringing & childhood, past experiences, abuse, etc., hatred, bitterness, malice, unforgiveness, remorse/regret, guilt, fear, revenge

Relational - 
Relationships with others 
Examples of things that need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely laid aside?  Toxic relationships, vexing relationships, time spent with those who discourage and bring down the spirit, enabling of unhealthy behavior in others, permissiveness to and perpetuation of abuse, allowing others to control time and actions, aligning priorities with Biblical principles

Financial -
Tithing, debt, stewardship
Examples of things that need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely laid aside? Failure to tithe and put God first above all else, indebtedness, unwise spending, living above means, stop allowing abusers to take advantage of financial generosity, stop casting pearls before swine

Occupational - 
Job/career
Examples of things that need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely laid aside?  Careful diligence and seeking of God's face for clarity and direction as to the line of work most pleasing to Him and most fitting to one's natural abilities and talents, alleviation of the stress of stretching and trying to fill roles outside of inherent gifts, pushing beyond physical and mental capabilities, allowing greed to drive decisions and dictate how time is allocated and spent

Obligational - 
Time-allocation, schedule, commitments, obligations, ministerial appointments, extended familial pressure
Examples of things that need to be minimized, changed, and/or completely laid aside?  Not allowing anything to come before time with God, managing time according to Biblical principles, doing and taking on too much, trying to do it all, not knowing how to say "no", releasing unnecessary commitments, examining motives and learning the difference between obligation and externally-inflicted guilt, 

Before we go any further, let me just say that I do NOT have it all together, nor do I claim to. I fall SO short of the glory of God and am nowhere near "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 3:14)  Though God has brought me a long way, there are many remaining areas that I feel conviction over and am pressing toward the mark continually.  I am definitely a work in progress, and the precious Holy Spirit is teaching me every day.  I only want to share the lessons and try to encourage and help you in your quest for a more Christlike, Biblically-minimal, simple life.  There is so much we will learn together, as He leads the way!

I hope you will stay tuned and follow along!

12 comments:

  1. Cheryl... I am excited to see your new blog... may God bless this endeavor and use it to minister to others. :)

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    1. And, I am thankful to have you here, my friend! I appreciate your support and prayers. :)

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  2. Oh, dear Cheryl - you have quoted one of the Bible verses that I know by heart and which stands in my memory - "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus". I so look forward to following your inspirational posts.

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    1. Oh, that verse is such a blessing to me, too! I am so thankful to have you following along, sweet friend. So very thankful for you! I am answering your email...will send soon, Lord willing. :)

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  3. Love the diagram of the pie. Makes one think for sure doesn't it Cheryl about our life. I hope you have a great day lovely lady. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Yes, sweet friend, it surely does make us think and ponder on eternity and how short this life really is. Do we really want to go through it so heavy-laden with excess? I hope you have a great day, too. You are such a dear blessing to me!

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  4. I'm looking forward to your future posts Cheryl!

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  5. What a great topic for a post, and so much careful thought represented here! Thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Michele! God bless you. ;)

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  6. I love your ideas here. We as a society are far too busy and stressed out. Your tips are practical and good food for thought. Visiting you today from the journeys in grace link up. laurensparks.net

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    1. Dear Lauren, Thank you ever so much for your kind visit and sweet words of encouragement! God bless you as you seek a simpler life!

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