Have you ever wondered if there were people in the Bible who practiced simple living? I think that there were actually quite a few of them and that they have a lot to teach us if we slow down and take the time to learn. What does Christian simple living look like? Is simple living a Biblical concept? Let’s do a little study on Old Testament Bible characters who lived simply and discover how this affected their relationships with God.
1. Study on Bible Characters: Adam and Eve
Let’s start “in the beginning,” shall we? Or at least almost back to the beginning. What were Adam and Eve’s lives like before the fall? I think that Adam and Eve lived more simply than anyone else in history. Think about it. They lived in a perfect world. God gave them only two jobs to manage. Just two!
In our day where everything is hectic and people feel like they are drowning in the different things they have to do, this is hard to imagine. God told Adam and Eve to care for the garden and to have a family. These were the two responsibilities.
On the flip side of this, Adam and Eve also had only one thing that they were not allowed to do. They were not to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
How much more simple can it get than this? Two positive commands to live out and only one negative command to refrain from doing. Not only that, but everything around them was perfect. There were no pests to make gardening hard, no aches and pains, and not even any sweat. As if that doesn’t sound good enough, Adam and Eve also walked with God and talked to him every evening. They were not distracted by the beautiful garden, but instead, they had perfect fellowship with their Creator.
Then one day, everything changed. Eve and Adam both disobeyed God and ate fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And sadly, that is where their pure and simple lives ended. Their sin brought a curse on our world, and its effects are still carried on to this day.
So, what does this have to do with your life? A lot, actually! From the beginning, God made things simple. He gave Adam and Eve a few simple commands to follow. And what did they do? They broke those commands and made things so much harder for themselves and for everyone else.
I think there are a couple of lessons here. One, obeying God’s commands makes things so much more simple. I didn’t say easier. It’s not always easy to do the right thing. But, if we just read His commands in the Bible and obey them, then it will make it a lot more plain the things we are supposed to be doing.
The second lesson is this: we often put a lot more on ourselves than God intended. Now, His will for our lives is not always clearly spelled out in the Bible, but the principles are there. And, as Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us to guide and convict us. A lot of times we jump into things because we want to do them and we don’t even stop to ask the Lord if it’s what He wants us to be doing. I know I’m guilty of this.
We see from the garden of Eden that God made things simple. It was mankind who complicated it. God doesn’t put more on our plates than what He gives us strength, time, and energy for. But, sometimes we do. Maybe it’s time for us to reevaluate our schedules on our knees before Him.
2. Study on Bible Character: Rebekah
Now there is a young lady who lived simply and was not tied down. Abraham sent his servant to go and find a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son. The servant went back to Abraham’s people and found Rebekah. One evening, the servant found Rebekah. The next morning, Rebekah chose to go with him and marry Isaac.
I don’t know about you, but I would have a hard time being able to pick up and move overnight. It would take me a little longer to pack than that. I’m not saying that we need to only keep what we can pack in a few hours, but I do think that most of us could afford to get rid of some things and simplify. Even if you don’t move, you can enjoy the benefits of having fewer things to manage right where you are. Maybe you think you don’t know where to start. I think you do, and you just don’t know it!
Think about “that one spot” that bugs you. Maybe there is so much in there that you find yourself stuffing to put things away. If you have more than one spot like this, start with the place that you use the most. I just cleaned out one of my drawers, and it feels so good. There are more that need to be done, but I’m already enjoying the progress, and that’s what I want for you!
3. Study on Bible Character: Moses
Moses had 40 years of simple living. He lived out in the wilderness and spent his days caring for sheep. I’m sure he had plenty of time for thinking and talking to the Lord during that time. God used these 40 years of simple living to prepare Moses for what was ahead of him: leading the children of Israel through the desert. We’re going to talk about them in the next section.
At the end of those 40 years, God spoke to Moses and told him what He wanted him to do. Did you know that God would like to speak to you too? No, you probably won’t see a burning bush as Moses did, but you might hear a still small voice if you stop and listen. God wants us to take the time to slow down, eliminate distractions, and listen to His voice each day. He has given us His Word to read and His Holy Spirit to apply what we read to our hearts. Let’s slow down and listen.
4. Study on Bible Characters: Children of Israel
When we think of the children of Israel, we usually think of them in a negative light. We think about how they complained and were disobedient. I think that we find it easier to point fingers at them than we do to recognize the same sins in our own hearts. After all, most of us have much easier lives than they did, and we still complain.
Anyway, while the children of Israel did do a lot of things wrong, today we are going to look at a positive aspect of their lives. They practiced simple living. Just like Rebekah, the children of Israel had to be ready to pick up and move at a moment’s notice. They weren’t tied down by possessions but were ready to go when the Lord called them.
We can be so easily tied down by possessions, commitments, desires, and anything else. Instead, we need to have open hands before the Lord. Keep a willing heart that is ready to give up everything for Jesus and follow Him wherever he leads.
- We tend to overcomplicate things for ourselves. Let’s read God’s Word and obey it. Also, let’s look at our schedules and seek God’s guidance. Are there some things that we should eliminate? Did we take on more than God intended us to carry?
- God wants to spend time with you. He uses the time that we spend with Him in His Word and in prayer to teach us, grow us, and strengthen and prepare us for His will. Spend some time listening to the voice of the Lord. He loves you and wants to be with you!
- Our schedules aren’t the only things that get stuffed. Sometimes it’s our drawers, cabinets, and closets too. Spring or not, any time of year is perfect for cleaning out and enjoying an emptier and more organized space.
I hope you enjoyed this little study of Bible characters in the Old Testament who practiced simple living! Next month, be on the lookout for a follow-up post with New Testament characters who lived simply!
Which Bible character did you relate to the most? Can you think of any other Bible characters who would teach us about simple living?
Until next time, have a single focus on the Lord and simply do what He asks you to!