Weekly Devotional: Find Freedom in Simplicity

A simple white room with a Woman wandering.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Americans spend around $1.2 trillion on unnecessary goods and services every year.1 There is no denying that as a society, we often over-complicate our lives. We grow eager to own the newest and best possessions, such as our phones, cars or clothes. We pile our schedules and trap ourselves in chaos, that we forget the value and freedom found in simplicity.

In This Article

What Is Simplicity?

The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.
Psalm 116:6ESV

Simplicity is a spiritual practice available to us that involves letting go of unnecessary things and instead, receiving freedom and enjoyment in God. It creates margins, space and openness in our lives.2 I like to view simplicity as eating a meal. In today’s culture, we want quick satisfaction, so we scarf our food down on the car ride to our next activity. Practicing simplicity is the opposite — it allows us time to sit at the table and really taste the goodness of God. Author Adele Calhoun says that practicing simplicity may produce the following God-given fruit:2

  • Uncluttered life

  • Clear mind

  • Space to love and serve God

  • Simple, honest speech

  • Freedom from jealousy/entitlement

  • Ability to relinquish control

  • Grateful heart

  • Firm identity

Simple Truth

While this may seem like a modern idea, simplicity is seen in the history of the church and found throughout Scripture. Followers of Jesus devoted themselves to a simple life, giving up their own comfort and possessions. I’m not implying that we too must sell everything we own, but rather model their heart posture. Here are a few examples in Scripture:

  • “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, ESV
  • “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” — Philippians 4:11-13, NLT
  • “For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” — 2 Corinthians 1:12, ESV

When life feels confusing, distorted or complicated, may you meditate on these simple truths, so you too, can live a simple life.

Simplify Your Life

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33ESV

You may be thinking simplicity doesn’t fit into your lifestyle or schedule — it may seem impossible. Allow me to encourage and challenge you to simplify your life regardless of your circumstances or availability. Start small and begin by asking the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of your life that could be simplified. Here are some ideas:

  • Downsize possessions: Go through your closet, drawers, garage, etc. and donate or sell items you don’t need or no longer use.
  • Spending habits: Create a simple budget that cuts back your costs on unneeded expenses, such as excessive shopping or fast food.
  • Activities: Create a list of simple activities to engage in — activities that require little to no cost or energy but still feel life-giving. This could be a walk in nature, painting, reading a book before bed or taking a minute to breathe and re-focus your eyes on God.

Life becomes much simpler when our top priority is Jesus. Rather than entangling ourselves in life’s turmoil, practice letting go and embracing simplicity. It is then that you can better enjoy life’s daily pleasures and be formed further into the image of Christ.

Calhoun also discusses how this prepares us for eternity with Jesus. There will come a day when we will be required to let go of everything on Earth, even our own breath. It will be a day of absolute freedom and simplicity.2

If you desire to learn more about simplicity or other spiritual practices, consider adding a minor in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship to your degree or attending GCU’s Spiritual Formation workshops. Fill out the form on this page to learn more.

Whitehouse, M. (2011, April 23). Number of the Week: Americans Buy More Stuff They Don’t Need. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 24, 2024.

2 Calhoun, A. (2015, Nov. 19). Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us. IVP.  Retrieved May 24, 2024. 

Approved by the local outreach coordinator of the Office of Spiritual Life on June 4, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.