Simplify To Amplify
One of our elders recently preached a sermon entitled, “Revived.” Of the many impactful words he shared, one of the phrases that really stuck with me was, “When God calls us out on something, He calls us unto something.” I recently stumbled upon a podcast that outlined reflective practices meant to be target strengths, weaknesses and areas of opportunity in our individual lives. The podcast recommended two practices 1) 80/20 analysis and 2) thinking big.
The 80/20 analysis comes from the Pareto Principle, where generally speaking, 20% of causes typically generate 80% of the results. Think – “20% of the people are doing 80% of the work.” In the instance of this podcast, the host encouraged listeners to evaluate and emphasize the 20% of their life from which they derived the majority (80%) of their happiness. Then, prioritize towards that specific 20%, rather than get lost in the remaining 80% that doesn’t bring happiness. The other practice, thinking big, forces us outside of our comfort zone, rather than simply accept the way things are currently. He used the figure 10X. Rather than being reactionary, he encouraged proactive behaviors by setting big goals, 10X goals, and working backwards from this big end result to identify the steps necessary to reach that big goal.
Not only are these great self-improvement practices, these concepts relate to our walk with Christ and really materialize the concept of being called out.
Consider 2 Peter 1:5-10:
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
I encourage you to perform an 80/20 analysis in your personal and spiritual life. What are the few truly rewarding pursuits you are involved in? Why not focus and prioritize towards these impactful pursuits rather than getting bogged down with the mundane remainder of ill-rewarding pursuits. What kind of change would you see in your life if the majority of your time spent generated Kingdom impactful results that glorify God and share His grace?
Ask yourself – Where is your time going? Where is your worth placed? Are you over-extended or running ragged? Do you find very little time for things that truly matter? These are tough questions to ask yourself, but don’t be shy. Be brutally honest. If time is our most valuable asset, are we being good stewards of focusing our time on Kingdom pursuits – being used by Him and bringing glory to God? One of my favorite sayings is “Without margin, there is no ministry.” This can be true in many areas – finances, attitudes and especially our time. If I pack my schedule so full with what I think I HAVE to do, am I missing out on joining God at work RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME? In the context of this 80/20 analysis, am I focusing on the impactful, or going through the motions with the less effective?
The second concept – thinking big, setting the goal and working backwards can be directly applied to our spiritual lives as well. This week, my pastor shared about praying to the Lord to increase our faith. Think of Peter on the water, sinking, rather than grabbing hold of the steadfast hand of Christ. When I hear “think big” my mind goes directly to “God sized ideas”. What are the things we are embarrassed to share because they seem so outlandish to our current situations? The root of thinking big, and subsequently praying big, is faith. We must have faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
I can be guilty of limiting beliefs. We all do it. This is human nature. However, God is not and will not be limited. As believers, we have a unique opportunity to join with God in His work, for His glory; but to be a part of His BIG picture, which we cannot see in its entirety, we MUST have faith. The popular 1950s book, The Magic of Thinking Big states that “Action cures fear.” This is completely true in our spiritual walk. Faith is the action that cures the fear that cripples us.
So, this blog post is titled, “Simplify to Amplify.” At the most basic level, we must prioritize and have faith. As believers, we are called out by God, but when we are called out for something we are also called unto something. What is God calling you to? Do you have the margin, or time in your life that enables us to approach the throne in freedom, with faith, to join with God where He is leading?
How can you simplify, in an effort to amplify? Are there areas of your life that are consumed with things that are detracting from our ability to live out the will of God and to be used powerfully by Him? Are you afraid to trust God to lead you into a new season of change? Are you afraid to specifically pray to the Lord for faith to believe in your “God sized ideas?” Perhaps you are entering a season of required simplicity or rest to “get back to the basics?” Trust God. Simplicity is necessary to more clearly hear from the Lord and be filled with His Spirit and grace as you embark into a new season or a renewed calling. Place your focus and faith in Him.