Taking Shortcuts

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13 (NIV)

Shortcuts are dangerous. We have all had times when taking the shortcut seemed like a good idea at the time, only to have to pay the consequences later. Whilst navigating through the chaotic railway terminal in Tokyo and close to missing my train, I had thought I had found a shortcut. Logically, it seemed to work out for my benefit as I reconstructed the map of the terminal in my head. As it turned out however, my shortcut took me to a completely different platform! The subsequent backtracking to my original route cost me half and hour of travel time when I could have easily taken the long route and still make the train, even if I did so by the skin of my teeth.

Humans love to look for shortcuts. Anything that reduces effort and makes things convenient and easy for us is the route that most of us would like to pursue. In some respects this is not necessarily a bad thing. The love that humans have for shortcuts leads them to become innovators and inventors. Many of the technological advances we have today stand testament to the love we have for finding the easiest and quickest method to get done what we need to get done.

However, this cannot be applied to the Christian life. Many of those outside the faith, and even those within Christian circles, feel that the key to fulfillment and happiness in life is the path of pleasure. Is the pursuit of pleasure wrong in itself? No, but it becomes wrong once it has replaced the pursuit of Christ. Yet many who do not want to subjugate themselves to the rigors of the Christian life but still call themselves Christians end up paying only lip service to Christ and following the path of comfort at the expense of living as His true followers. By the time they realize that they have taken a wrong turn, it is already too late. Those who have been able to realize their mistake before it destroys them find that they had wasted precious time pursuing the fleeting pleasures of this world over the eternal pleasures of pursuing Christ and interacting with the world through His eyes. The Christian life was never meant to be easy. In fact it should cause more discomfort than ease because it challenges us to critically look at the world and its assumptions we have grown to become accustomed to. However, the rewards of following Christ far outweigh the suffering and challenges of the narrow path in light of a truly fulfilled and happy life both in the present and into eternity.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.