Why would you do this? Limit your standard of living? Maybe for you, that’s exactly the opposite of what you’re trying to do.
Perhaps for the sake of minimalism you might see some others suggesting the same thing. From that perspective there are a lot of benefits which are great. As a Jesus follower though, it’s more than just benefits.
Having no limits
Most people never consider themselves wanting a standard of living that grows endlessly. We think in terms of, “I’ll be happy if I just have this.” But our hearts are different. We want “bigger and better than right now”. There’s no limit to that. The more you have, the more you want. Its an appetite that grows and is never satisfied.
An unbounded standard of living puts a lid on your generosity, on your ability to love others, on your devotion to God. That’s sounds harsh, but the fact is, it can shift where your treasure is. Your treasure being what’s important or a priority for you. No limits in one area of your life automatically limits other areas in your life.
It adds distraction. Simplicity brings clarity and focus to one’s life. You will always be conflicted by trying to better your own standard of living whilst trying to be more generous. Trying to follow Jesus and an ever-growing standard of living can easily become a double life. As much as some of us may try to convince ourselves and others, those two paths just don’t run parallel all the time.
When Jesus preached the famous sermon on the Mount, he told the crowds and disciples about what being blessed really meant. The kind of poverty he spoke of was being poor in spirit. Being blessed began with someone who realized that they were poor in spirit, not possessions.
I’m not trying to say that having an abundance of possessions is bad. It may actually glorify God in displaying His provision. But if we become more devoted to our abundance of possessions than God, then we may be actually better off without that kind of abundance.
Getting more doesn’t equal having more
A growing income doesn’t mean a growing standard of living. Why do we assume that?
While we’re looking ahead to others who have much more than us, and show it by their standard of living, so is someone else looking at us, wishing they could have a similar standard of living to us. There’s always a higher standard of living. It doesn’t end. Why would we subscribe ourselves to such a thing?
When you’re continuously trying to reach standard of living that keeps getting bigger and bigger, you’ll never win. And not only that, you’ll never be satisfied. Never content. You’ll live a life marked by discontentment and always wishing you had more.
Maybe Jesus actually meant that we couldn’t serve both God and money because we really can’t be equally devoted to both. Not some other metaphor that money may represent, but literally, money.
There’s always this resistance that rises up isn’t it? We can thank pride for that. Maybe I’m the only one, but I’m quicker to try and defend my lifestyle rather than take a humble stance.
We probably won’t admit it, but we’ll often be more concerned about feeling financially secure rather than what’s on God’s heart. It’s not about trying to make you feel guilty, but at the same time, you might just feel guilty. The point is, whether you realize it not, you’re devoted to something or someone. Something or someone has filled that number one spot in your life. Who or what is it?
How do you want to live your life? Ask someone if they’d like to live their life always unsatisfied, and they’ll tell you that’s a stupid question. And yet, why do so many of us live this way anyway?
So why not try it? Put a limit on your standard of living. You may just find more contentment. You may find that generosity has nothing to do with how much you have.