Minimalism and the christian life

Minimalism and the Christian Life

If you consider yourself part of the Christian world, you might be wondering if this whole minimalism movement is in line with your beliefs. I mean, is minimalism biblical? More than anything, I encourage you to explore this topic on your own, but I’m happy to get you started. I consider myself a Jesus follower, and I’ve found that minimalism and the Christian life can easily coexist.

Obviously, with any fad or movement, it can be taken too far. I could make minimalism the thing I put my hope in instead of God. Or I could live with very little and start to think I’m pretty awesome because of it, letting pride replace love.

I’ve tried my best to take what is good about the minimalism movement and leave the rest. For me, minimalism isn’t legalistic. I don’t limit myself to a certain number of items. And I don’t assume that something that seemingly works well for others is what God wants for me.

That being said, I do believe that God wants me to live a minimalist lifestyle that is unique to me. And, I do believe that if you are a Christ-follower that God wants you to live a minimalist lifestyle that is unique to you. After all, your life isn’t about you, but it is uniquely yours.

Check out this post for more information on minimalism and the simple living lifestyle and to learn why I’ve chosen to go on my minimalist journey.

Minimalism and the Christian Life

So what do I mean when I say that God wants you to live a minimalist lifestyle?

First, I don’t mean that you have to call yourself a minimalist, read books and watch documentaries about minimalism, or drastically change your life to make it the most minimal it can become.

Second, I mean that some of what minimalism stands for aligns with what God wants for each of our lives. Minimalism and the Christian life can be reconciled. They are compatible.

The Bible shows us that God wants us to enjoy our lives and live with intentionality. It shows us that God wants us to trust him instead of money. He doesn’t want us to waste our lives pursuing things–more money, more stuff, bigger houses, and better cars. He knows that these things can never truly make us happy.

God wants what is best for us, and he knows that materialism isn’t what’s best.

Additionally, God wants us to be pure in our thoughts and actions. He wants us to have a healthy relationship with him, ourselves, and others.

This proves to me that there is a such thing as Christian minimalism.

(Note: I am not a pastor, and I did not go to seminary. I am just a person who has studied the Bible (mostly) on my own and would like to share what I have learned. Hope that’s okay.)

Three Reasons Why Minimalism and the Christian Life are Compatible

Here are the three main reasons why I’ve chosen to develop a lifestyle of Christian minimalism:

1. Enjoying your life and living intentionally are biblical.

The first reason I believe minimalism and the Christian life are compatible is that enjoying your life and living intentionally are biblical.

If I could sum up the benefits of being a minimalist in one word, it would be contentment. Minimalism supports enjoying your life and living intentionally. Living a minimalist lifestyle provides you more freedom because your money, possessions, health, or other people aren’t dictating your life.

The Bible also talks about these same ideas. The Bible tells us that God wants us to enjoy our lives and live it to the full. That’s what living intentionally is all about!

We could live intentionality by including God in every decision we make, making the most of who God created us to be, and using the gifts God has given us wisely. (Whether it be spiritual gifts, skills, possessions, time, or money).

Living minimally and intentionally is about living out your purpose, not anyone else’s. For a Christian, this also means living out God’s will for you.

Christian minimalism is living a life that allows room for God to work.

Bible Verses That Support Enjoying Your Life and Living Intentionally

Here are a few Bible verses that show us that God wants us to enjoy our live and live intentionally:

That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13)

“This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b)

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

“Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17a)

2. Refusing to have a materialistic lifestyle is biblical.

The second reason I believe minimalism and the Christian life are compatible is that moving away from materialism is biblical.

Another main idea of minimalism, and probably the most obvious one, is living with only what we need and love. Being a minimalist allows you to give who or what you love more of your time. You aren’t wasting your time on unimportant things. We live in a consumerist world where everyone is looking for their next thing to buy, eat, experience, etc.

The Bible tells us that loving money is not a good idea. It tells us that God wants us to hold onto our money and possessions loosely because they are not ours to keep and they won’t last. God doesn’t want us to love money because he knows it can never truly satisfy us the way that God can.

Christian minimalism involves not letting money and possessions have a foothold on your life.

A life lived to the full will not end up being one filled with lots of stuff, but one filled with lots of love. This is the way the first believers lived (Acts 4) after Jesus left them. They actually heard what Jesus taught and saw what he did and this is how they put it into practice.

Bible Verses That Support Refusing a Materialistic Lifestyle

Here are a few Bible verses that show us that God doesn’t want us to fall for materialism and why:

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

“‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'” (Matthew 6:19-21)  

“‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.'” (Matthew 6:24)

“Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'” (Luke 12:15)

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:7)

“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

“For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

Bible Verses That Show Us How To Live In Relation To Material Things

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'” (Luke 12:33-34)

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5)

3. Being mindful or paying attention to what is good and true is biblical.

The third reason I believe minimalism and the Christian life are compatible is that being mindful or paying attention to what is good and true is biblical.

Minimalism and mindfulness go hand in hand, because minimalism is about getting the most out of life. With mindfulness, we live in the moment. Being mindful means we bring our attention to what we are experiencing right now without judgment.

Mindfulness for a Christian can also mean paying attention to God. We can try to look for God’s presence in every circumstance. We can notice all that he created and agree with him that it is good. Also, we don’t let our thoughts run wild and get the best of us, but instead, we train ourselves to think only about what is true.

So, Christian minimalism involves being mindful of who God is, what He is doing around us, and what He wants to say to us.

Bible Verses That Support Being Mindful

Here are a few Bible verses that show us that God wants us to be mindful:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Explore Christian Minimalism For Yourself

Well, I hope you found reading some verses from the Bible helpful in our discussion of how minimalism and the Christian life fit so well together. Please take some time to read these passages for yourself, including the verses around them to get some context. It is not my intention to handpick verses just to make my point, but to encourage you to see for yourself what the Bible has to say.

Start with my post on how to declutter your life if you want to begin living a more minimalist lifestyle today!

If you are a Christ-follower, do you find that minimalism and the Christian life fit well together? If you don’t consider yourself a Christ-follower, what part of the minimalist lifestyle is most appealing to you? Share with us in the comments!

Theresa Bedford is a nationally syndicated writer. Her work has been seen on the Associated Press Wire, Blox Digital, and MSN. She writes about productivity, money, and simple living to help people focus on what really matters in life.