We conclude our Path to Simplicity series by visiting with two distinguished, Godly men: Paul and Daniel.
While they have different stories, backgrounds and characteristics, both have much wisdom to share.
They dealt with enemies, frenemies, trials and difficult seasons. Both valued a life of simplicity rooted in obedience, discipline and excellence.
I admit I complicate my walk with God. It happens when you’re a Martha trying to create Mary moments without actually doing what Mary did, prioritizing time with Christ over tasks that can wait.
Paul tells us to “set aside encumbrances . . .” Heb 12:1 What’s an encumbrance? The Greek word is oknon which means “bulk” which is defined as “large in quantity or amount.”
Paul says that our bulk “so easily entangles us.” In Greek “entangles” is euperistaton which means “easily encircling.”
A picture emerges of us being encircled, trapped, surrounded by bulk that serves no purpose.
Any spiritual or personal growth gets tripped up, smothered and suffocated by so much now that will matter so little later.
Growth requires simplicity that creates space to focus our faith. Paul knew this.
Before advising us to set down our bulk in Chapter 12 , he first inspires us in Chapter 11 with “faith-stories”that brought down Jericho’s walls, saved a nation, “conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were mades strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”
Because for faith to be effective it needs freedom from any entanglements choking it out like unforgiveness, unbelief, pride, jealousy, distraction and resentment.
If we’re ever going to witness miracles, see prayers answered and grow spiritually, it starts with setting aside the bulk blocking our faith.
Daniel was described as “having an excellent spirit” doing nothing half way.
He didn’t cut corners, look for shortcuts, fudge numbers or the truth and performed his day job as if working for God.
God rewarded him by promoting him at work while protecting him from his enemies. The lions weren’t Daniel’s real enemy but his co-workers’ jealousy was and it costs them their lives. Dan 6:24
When I was growing up, my mom taught my sister and me how to clean house with an excellent spirit. At 16 I hated it. At 53 I am so thankful.
Her belief was that a room wasn’t truly clean until the areas guests couldn’t see were clean as well – drawers, closets, cabinets and baseboards as well as counter tops.
And no room was complete without the “finishing touches” meaning nicely decluttered, decorated and smelling divine.
That lesson then has changed my life now, dramatically.
Do nothing halfway and do all as a form of worship and gratitude to the God who provides.
“An excellent woman who can find, for her worth is far above rubies.” Prov 31:10
A woman of excellence is a woman of discipline and is so rare that her value can’t be determined.
She isn’t a perfectionist but she does live on purpose. Failure isn’t final for her but simply a valuable learning tool.
She pursues excellence and discipline in all things and reaps its benefits on her waistline, wallet, closet and calendar.
She goes all in then goes all out on all she undertakes and her life reflects it.
The Path to Simplicity is free of encumbrances or bulk.
And the women brave enough to walk this path emerge as women of excellence, elegance and discipline, fully understanding and appreciating living a simple lifestyle that holds less but better.
I believe that keeping life simple is what makes life sweet!