“So when the woman saw … that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.”
Taking Shortcuts …
Thinking About God’s Appointed Way
Short cuts can be good when they serve a proper purpose, but not all shortcuts should be taken. Many shortcuts are evil and destructive.
The Garden of Eden reveals this. The fall, in part, is due to a dreadful shortcut. Eve was duped into thinking that eating the forbidden fruit would provide a stockpile of divine knowledge. It was, so to speak, a shortcut to wisdom.
You understand the draw. Gaining wisdom isn’t easy. It requires patience, laborious study, and the tedious work of listening. Eve said phooey on all that. Why not just munch your way to scholarship?
A diploma through digestion may sound a little silly to you, but how many times have we fallen into the same sort of thinking? There have been many people who believe that they can get slimmer without the difficulty of counting calories and increasing exercise. Just take a couple pills or strap into a machine that shakes your bottom, and voila.
Financial shortcuts are one of the biggest draws. Who doesn’t want to skate into riches without the toilsome pains of education, labor, and loads of time doing menial tasks. We want big money fast; something that requires the least possible effort and no experience necessary.
We all have this desire for short cuts. Each of us has been lured in by the simplicity of it all. Just copy a few answers off the kid sitting next to you or look up the answers in the back of the book. You'll get the passing grade without having to put in all that extra time and energy. It's no fruit eating, but it's the same concept.
Sloth is it's real name. Sluggards love skipping out on God's appointed means of doing things. My lazy nature wants to forge an easier way to the big time.
Raising kids is hard work. You have to make a meal two, maybe three times a day. You have to tell them over and over what they are supposed to do. Then you have to stop them when they do it because you have to explain what they are doing wrong and how to do it right.
There are shortcuts though. You can yell at them. That's a lot easier than sitting them down and having a real talk about where their heart is.
Better yet, why not let someone else do the dirty work? Toss them off on the church and a school and let those institutions carry the load of responsibility for the child’s nurture.
Discipleship is a long game. Getting godly children means investing time. Hours and hours of exhausting time. Teaching, rebuking, correcting, training. Then you wake up and have to do it all over again the next day… and the next day, and the next day. And on and on it goes for at least 18 years. It's agonizing, not to mention expensive.
Shortcuts are attractive. That's because there's so much draw. Satan likes to dangle this carrot in front of us. He likes to plant that dissatisfaction in our hearts and make us want something better; something easier.
It was the same scheme with which Satan enticed Jesus. "Look at the kingdoms of the earth. You can have them all if you only bow down and worship me."
Isn’t that attractive? There was a shortcut. It meant victory without any cost. Lordship without any pain of suffering. Conquest without the weary, dreary way of the cross.
Jesus faced the same temptation that Eve did. He is able to sympathize with us in our weakness because he knows what it is like to be in our shoes. The only difference was that his temptation was a million times more enticing because the stakes were much higher.
Yet real Lordship would only come through God’s appointed means. Procuring salvation meant suffering. Eternal gain necessitated dire pain.
Which leads to the great mystery of salvation. Oddly enough, when it comes to being right with God and gaining eternal life, everything turns on its head. The easy way becomes the last thing people typically want to do.
The Lord has provided the easiest possible way to gain eternal life. All he requires is faith in Jesus Christ, who died on your behalf. It's actually the shortest possible cut for the most important possible thing. All you have to do to avoid hell and damnation is believe. Trust in Christ, who has done the hard work on your behalf, and you will be saved.
In the greatest twist of irony, this simple road is oft neglected. So many people rather take the longest, hardest, most impossible route of trying to please God with their own works. This, despite the fact that all our efforts fail miserably to achieve any kind of merit with God. Instead of confessing and forsaking their guilt (which is incredibly easy), they bear the weight of it in their souls to the grave.
Nevertheless, the good news is that God has appointed a way to life and salvation, and the way is simple. When we place our faith in him all of his deliverance is brought into our lives. In Christ we will find ourselves starting to demur from the shortcuts. We will find ourselves delighting in the other paths of life he has laid out, even in their difficulty.
Transform Your Sunday Evenings Join us on Sunday evenings starting January 8th for our study of “Transformed.” You will have opportunity to be a fly on the wall as you witness real counseling sessions, tackling issues like OCD, anxiety, depression, phobias, and trauma. Singing, prayer, and teaching begins at 6pm.
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