Celebration of Discipline
Consider your clothes. Most people have no need for more clothes. They buy more not because they need clothes, but because they want to keep up with the fashions. Hang the fashions! Buy what you need. Wear your clothes until they are worn out. Stop trying to impress people with your clothes and impress them with your life. And for God's sake (and I mean the quite literally) have clothes that are practical rather than ornamental.
Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. Learn to distinguish between a real psychological need, like cheerful surroundings, and an addiction. Eliminate or cut down on the use of addictive, non-nutritional drinks: alcohol, coffee, tea, Coca-Cola, and so on. Chocolate has become a serious addiction for many people. If you have become addicted to television, by all means sell your set or give it away. Any of the media that you find you cannot do without, get rid of: radios, stereos, magazines, videos, newspapers, books. If money has a grip on your heart, give some away and feel the inner release. Simplicity is freedom, not slavery. Refuse to be a slave to anything but God.
Remember, an addiction, by its very nature, is something that is beyond your control. You can decide to open this corner of your life to the forgiving grace and healing power of God. You can decide to allow loving friends who know the ways of prayer to stand with you. You can decide to live simply one day at a time in quiet dependence upon God's intervention.
Watch for undisciplined compulsions. A student friend told me about one morning when he went out to get his newspaper and found it missing. He panicked, wondering how he could possibly start the day without the newspaper. Then he noticed a morning paper in his neighbor's yard, and he began to plot how he could sneak over and steal it. Immediately he realized that he was dealing with a genuine addiction. He rushed inside and called the newspaper office to cancel his subscription. The receptionist, obviously filling out a form, ask courteously, "Why are you canceling your subscription to the newspaper?" My friend blurted out, "Because I'm addicted!" Undaunted the receptionist replied, "Would you like to cancel your entire subscription or would you like to keep the Sunday edition?" to which he exclaimed, "No, I'm going cold turkey!" Now, obviously not everyone should cancel their subscription to the newspaper, but for this young man it was an important act.
Third, develop a habit of giving things a way. If you find that you are becoming attached to some possession, consider giving it to someone who needs it. I remember singing with meaning the worship chorus, "Freely, freely you have received; freely, freely give." When my son Nathan was six years old he heard of a classmate who needed a lunch pail and asked me if he could give him his own lunch pail. Hallelujah!
De-accumulate! Masses of things that are not needed complicate life. They must be sorted and stored and dusted and re-sorted and re-stored ad nauseam. Most of us could get rid of half our possessions without any serious sacrifice. We would do well to follow the counsel of Thoreau: "Simplify, simplify." "