Have you noticed how prone we humans are to finding a shortcut to everything? It doesn’t matter what it is, we are always trying to figure out an easier or quicker way of getting what we want. From cheating on a test or our taxes, to finding a faster way to drive to work, to eating dinner in the van. Think of all of the gadgets that marketers relentlessly push on us in an effort to make life more streamline. The microwave, frozen or pre-made meals, weight loss supplements, texting, Google Maps, drive through fast food, automated car wash, K-cups, to online shopping; there is always a new and improved way of finding a shortcut.
Photo by Heather Zabriskie on Unsplash
I for one cannot stand to wait 30-40 minutes to be seated at a restaurant. I will try and figure out an alternate route when traffic in backed up,. I record all of the shows my wife and I watch so I don’t have to sit through 20 minutes of commercials. And I prefer to use my Keurig in the morning rather than wait the 15 minutes it takes my coffee maker to deliver a cup of coffee.
Obviously there are some shortcuts that have improved productivity, or get you home faster, and that is not all bad. However, the rush to find a shortcut seems to be more of a liability than an asset. I think that it is what fuels a sense of entitlement in our culture. This belief that I am entitled to get what I want with the least amount of effort or time.
So what does it hurt if I can shave a few minutes off of my drive time? Nothing really.
The problem is that if we typically don’t stop there. If we are honest, the need to find a shortcut permeates every aspect of our lives. I think one of the most dangerous areas that is being effected is the time we spend growing up in Christ. There are things that are essential to our maturing, our making a contribution to the world that we live in, and to developing an intimate walk with God. Whether we are aware of it our not, or whether we like it or not, there is a way that things work in this life. In order to become the man or woman that God created us to be, there is a process that needs to take place, and it cannot be rushed.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
I received a catalogue from a Christian book distributor recently and I was amazed at how many books, devotionals, and even Bibles try and cater to our desire to find a shortcut. The one-minute Bible, the one-minute devotional, the three-minute Bible study, the five-minute Bible study…you get the point. While I know that some would argue that one minute of Bible reading is better than none, it is a lie from the father of lies, that you and I can gain all of the benefits of the Christian life, without having to put in the time that it takes to go through the maturation process.
Jesus spent three years with His disciples and they still didn’t get it. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before he was ready for his mission. Paul spent 3 years in Arabia before going to Jerusalem. And I know from my own journey that the transformational life takes years, and years.
Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention. The Message
Photo by POOYAN ESHTIAGHI on Unsplash
Hmm, the way to life – to God – is vigorous and requires total attention. We are in an all out war against the Unholy Trinity…the world, the flesh, and the devil. Their goal is to get you further and further away from intimacy. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing…there are no easy going formulas. The transformational life takes time, effort, and a willingness to slow down. We cannot have it both ways…we cannot run helter-skelter through our days only dipping our toes in the water of solitude, silence and prayer, and expect to have intimacy with the Trinity. My prayer for you this year is that you slow your pace. Look for opportunities to linger, listen, read, rest, and wait for all that Abba has for you.