Minimalism or extravagance
Sometimes I kind of go along in my Christian life on a minimalist setting.
I love as much as I need to, but no more. I'm as joyful as I need to be, but no more. I'm as patient as I need to be, but no more.
I don't expend too much energy overdoing it.
Perseverance means plodding. Kindness means kind of. Self-control means a tightly controlled self.
But reading the fourth chapter of Philippians the other day, I was struck by the extravagance, the wastefulness and the overflowingness of Paul's instructions to the Philippian church.
Firstly, he goes overboard about how much he loves them. "I love', 'I long for', 'I plead with'... the verbs are all pretty extreme. And how often do you call someone 'my joy and my crown'?
Then he repeats what he's already said multiple times about rejoicing! Not just a little bit of happiness, but joy and rejoicing.
He affirms God's desire to answer prayers, to calm anxiety, to give a peace that's beyond understanding. And then he challenges his readers to fill their minds with all good things!
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, 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.
It's quite an extravagantly wonderful thought to imagine my mind full to the brim of all good, true, pure, lovely, admirable, noble, excellent and praiseworthy things. Wow!
It's a big spur to me to eschew Christian minimalism, and embrace the reality of God's extravagant character.