I shoved two more bags of “stuff” into the car with great satisfaction. There’s nothing as good as clearing the house of excess.
Minimalism is on an all time high. You get the look—crisp white walls with minimal décor and a few succulents gracing a shelf or two. Very different than the oldies look of stuff, stuff, and more stuff.
Just recently I turned old brown paneling into a crisp white wall—well, actually, a painter did–a super kind one who didn’t charge me a penny for his labor. I sold old furniture and purchased new décor. The results were remarkable.
I love minimizing.
Having less is great until we carry that over into kingdom living. In God’s kingdom, there is lavish excess and he wants us to tap into it, daily. But, it’s so easy to be frugal with our dedication to God.
Loving Jesus means abundance and passion, excess comfort in all circumstances, and care for every detail of our lives. And such a good God deserves maximum focus.
Americans often give Jesus just enough attention to “get into heaven”. But loving Jesus isn’t about getting to a place; it’s about knowing a person.
When all you want to do is get to heaven, you’ll treat Jesus Christ like one of those lovely succulents on the shelf of your home, there to grace your atmosphere with His presence and make your life beautiful. But you won’t breathe deeply of the very essence of Christ as you go about your day and your heart won’t really vibe with the good news of being born again.
Words like “born again” will sound like foreign language. Who says that, nowadays?
You’ll feel like Nicodemus when he asked Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time in his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4, ESV)
Or, you’ll feel like I did today as I sat a little wearily in a large crowd, but warmth and excitement overtook my heart as the pastor spoke about really knowing Jesus.
Knowing Jesus is different than knowing how to be good. I know what it’s like to be a good girl, but have no peace. That’s because Jesus isn’t interested in my goodness; He’s interested in me seeing that I need His redemption.
I remember the day I realized that no one can be good enough for God, and I had this vile sin nature within me that even my outwardly good life couldn’t answer for. I went to Jesus Christ for his free gift of mercy, and found that the best day of my life came at the end of my own resources. I found mercy only when I realized I desperately needed mercy.
But I didn’t stop trying to be good enough for God. I had always, always, always tried to gain the approval of people by being good. And, I figured God would kick me to hell if I wasn’t good all the time. My efforts exhausted my heart, and still I had little peace.
Then, Jesus showed me who he was. A beautiful, wonderful Savior who was more like a Father. An intimate Friend who was closer than a brother. A Lover who would love me unconditionally. Someone Who was always present, always available. Someone who wouldn’t rebuke me or point out my flaws unless it was met with equal mercy and forgiveness.
I fell in love with THAT PERSON, and there was nothing minimal about it.
I began to pray that God would maximize my love toward Him and all those He loves.
I want to be His hands, His feet, His heart in a world of brokenness and pain (of which I know much).
I learned to have fun and live fully. I learned to laugh even when I was crying—because the joy of the Lord was my strength, and He gave me richly all things to enjoy. I learned that the key to living a sanctified life was being deeply in love with a sanctified Savior.
You can’t be connected to Someone without becoming like that Someone.
This is why, when others talk of church buildings, religion, and denominations, my mind draws a blank and my heart doesn’t resonate. Religion is nothing to me, but Jesus is everything. And sometimes, like He did, I find more love and grace with non-religious people than I do with those who line the pews of a stained glass church.
When they tell me, “I don’t know if I’m a Christian, but I do believe in God”, my heart (and sometimes my mouth) says, “Please make sure you know the person of Jesus Christ.”
We can be minimalists with every THING, but not with every ONE. Jesus Christ is more than a sweet idea gracing our lives and making sure we get to a certain place; He’s a Person who wants to fill our lives and gift us with supernatural GRACE.