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Lent Devotional | Day 34

April 13, 2019 0 Share

Worship | Saturday | 5:00 p.m.

“Only the pure in heart can see God, and therefore, draw near to him. And only by God’s drawing near to the pure in heart can they maintain this purity.” — Søren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.

Kierkegaard captures well the essence of simplicity in the title of the work quoted above. The word simplicity derives from the Latin simplex which is literally rendered “one-fold,” as opposed to duplex; “twofold.” One who is duplicitous is said to be two-faced or to have divided loyalties. To live simply, by contrast, is to be undivided in intention and purpose. The kind of purity that Kierkegaard imagines is a simplicity that keeps the heart attuned to the Kingdom of God so that it becomes the center of gravity from which our thoughts, actions, and habits flow.

Luke describes a time in his ministry when “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (9:51). From this point forward, he turned a single-minded focus on the cross. As we enter Holy Week, we see the disciples failing to grasp the fixedness of Jesus’ determination. Reading the story through the lens of the cross it’s easy to see how everything Jesus did was in service of his greatest love: us. This too is the essence of simplicity: to order our actions and daily habits by what we truly love.

When we say we love God and our family more than anything else, but find ourselves watching tv for hours a day—seldom finding time for prayer—or constantly putting off a child’s request to play because we’ve brought additional work home with us, our loves have become disordered. These habits form under the radar and we give ourselves over to them quite unintentionally. Practicing simplicity helps us allow God to re-order our lives so that what we say we love is where we actually direct the resources and energies of our hearts.

SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Pray Through Your Weekly Schedule

We all succumb to the tyranny of the urgent as opposed to the meaningful. Consider the following prayer exercise as a way to invite God into charting your week.

• In a quiet place, prayerfully discuss with God what your greatest loves are. Write them down below.

• Before anything else, mark ways to direct your time to these things in your calendar.

• Eliminate the small tasks if they get in the way of the big things (you’ll find a way to do the tasks that must be done).

• Give yourself permission to say “no” to optional things that aren’t related to these three loves.


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