It’s easy to fall into the trap of adding more and more into our lives. These can be good things like spiritual disciplines or they can be dangerous things inflicted upon us by societal pressures. Either way, we are a people who seem to crave cramming more and more into our lives each day. When we look at the life of Jesus, the One after whom we should be modeling our own life, we don’t see Him doing this.
Jesus lived simply, on purpose, and on mission. Perhaps the better question to ask is not what else can we add into our lives, but what is it we can remove to make Jesus our overriding priority? What is one thing we can cut out of our lives today we know is not bringing honor to our Lord?
When we’re being honest with ourselves, we all know we have habits, commitments, and entertainment choices needing to be jettisoned from our lives. There is no shortage of things we are doing today that we know should be removed. But let’s start with a single one. What attitude, addiction, routine, or relationship needs to be cut out of your life because you know it isn’t doing anything to further the Kingdom of God? If you can’t find anything obvious in your life, ask a close friend or relative who is also trying to follow Christ. Satan is good at blinding us to those things keeping us from living the life we were created to live. Sometimes we must humbly ask someone else to point out those blind spots in our lives.
Once you’ve determined what you’re going to prune from your life, it’s important to not replace it with something else. The goal here is simplification. We want to strip away all that isn’t Jesus so all we’re left with is Him. We’ve spent so many years piling useless garbage into our lives, so it may take a while to clear out the refuse. It can be helpful to replace a bad habit with a good one (for example starting your day with prayer instead of checking email or social media feeds), but what most of us need in this world is more margin. We need space to breathe and allow God to work through us. More than needing one more good habit, we need about ten fewer habits overall. We can always add the good disciplines in later after we’ve cleared our plates of all the unhealthy things.
Some of what I’m saying goes against the current self-help and habit thinking. It’s because we’re trying to build God’s Kingdom here, not our own. Often this will mean turning the world’s advice upside down. It only makes sense because God’s Kingdom looks upside down to the rest of the world. Before you add anything else to your life, first determine what it is you need to strip away. What one thing will you cut out this week? Once eradicated, choose something else. Keep pruning until all you’ve got left is Jesus and habits which bring glory to Him. We need to be a people about doing less and spending more time with God and in service to others on His behalf. What will you cut out of your life today?