Simplicity sets possessions in proper perspective. Simplicity is the only thing that sufficiently reorients our lives so that possessions can be genuinely enjoyed without destroying us.
But, and here comes the rub, all of us feel that we are in complete control of our desire for things. We would never admit to an ungovernable spirit of covetousness. The problem is that we, like the alcoholic, are unable to recognize the disease once we have been engulfed by it. Only by the help of others are we able to detect the inner spirit that places wealth about God. And we must come to fear the idolatrous state of covetousness because the moment things have priority, radical obedience becomes impossible.
If God gave it to me,” we say “it’s mine. I can do what I want with it.” No. The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of – if we want to find our true selves, if we want real Life, if our hearts are set on glory.
We might have the beautiful house, beautiful country, fat account, good friends, wonderful children, nice jobs, but there is nothing that can replace the reality of disturbed soul that is heading towards destruction.
But what the joy it is, on the other hand, to be in peace with God, to feel His presence and to smell His presences. This is what we should, by all means, strive for in faith, hope for and die for, for the city of God, is far much better than a taste of this life.
Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. In the wilderness God gave Israel the manna every day, and they had no need to worry about food and drink. Indeed, if they kept any of the manna over until the next day, it went bad. In the same way, the disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on accumulated wealth, and makes it a barrier between himself and God. Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God. Hoarding is idolatry.
There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the [christian] life. Because it is so natural, it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is. But its outworkings are tragic.
Whoever has Christ in his heart, so that no earthly or temporal things — not even those that are legitimate and allowed — are preferred to Him, has Christ as a foundation. But if these things be preferred, then even though a man seem to have faith in Christ, yet Christ is not the foundation to that man.