There are No Shortcuts!
As a 21-year veteran of homeschooling my children, I am familiar with many of its challenges. One issue I run up against year after year are complaints about how to complete assignments. I feel like I have heard them all!
“I don’t like this. Why do I have to do it?” (We all have to do things we don’t like, child. It will be easier to do if you pray about it and have a positive attitude.)
“You know I know this! Why do I have to write it out?” (You need to be able to articulate your knowledge in such a way that others can understand it, child. This includes complete sentences, correct grammar, AND punctuation!)
One of my son’s current challenges is math. I had cautioned him at the beginning of the year that Algebra II involves following detailed steps and requires careful organization. He loves math and it comes easily to him, but he has struggled to see the value of doing each step. I understand his frustration, especially when some of these problems take a whole side of paper to solve.
He feels like all the tedious little steps are busywork and aren’t necessary to complete. However, he is starting to discover the value of the “busywork” steps – they are teaching him new skills to enable him to solve more difficult problems in future lessons.
In one of our many discussions about having to follow the instructions in his math book, his argument was “Why do I have to follow the steps in the book when I get the correct answer doing it my way?”
Oh, how often we think the same thing in our life!!!
I think it is easy to look at all that the Lord has commanded us to do in His Word & then pick and choose the things we will obey. Sometimes we do it unconsciously. But sadly, we all have times in our life when we willfully ignore what the Lord has clearly told us to do.
Our reasons echo my son’s math complaints: It’s not necessary. What’s the point of doing it that way? It’s easier my way. It’s less work (and less painful) if I just choose the parts I think are important.
And maybe it is in the beginning. But like my son’s math, there will be a time of reckoning. All those shortcuts and skipping the “little lessons” are going to catch up with us.
With my son and his math, he will be faced with problems that he does not have the necessary skills to solve.
The stakes are even higher with us. If we have not practiced obedience to the Lord in all things, we will struggle to stand when adversity comes because our life will not be built on a firm foundation.
Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.
We will not be firmly rooted in the Word and our relationship with Him.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
It’s easy to view the Bible as a long list of rules, but it is so much more than that. God’s instructions for us are not to restrict us from “fun” things. They are meant to free us from the entanglement and consequences of sin! Jesus died on the cross for our sins and when we accept Him as our Savior, we are forgiven and reconciled with God. But that doesn’t mean we are free to willfully sin again.
We are to be imitators of God! As followers of Christ, we are to cast off our old sinful desires and put on our new selves in righteousness & holiness.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
All of the Lord’s teachings, instructions, and commandments are intended to make us more like Christ.
There is no shortcut for this. Sure, we can skip steps to avoid things we are not comfortable with. We might even arrive at the place we feel like the Lord is calling us to. But if we do, we will not be truly prepared for it in the way the Lord intended. We will have missed the important lessons…the trials, the hardships, the setbacks, the obstacles, and the suffering.
While no one truly enjoys walking through adversity, the Lord uses these times to refine us. To whittle away the strongholds & sin that shackle us. To reveal to us areas in our life that we need to yield to him. To teach us to trust Him more fully.
It’s a process that we will continually go through our entire lives here on earth. We need to run our race in the way that the Lord has called us to…not turning aside to the right or left.
Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.
What areas in your life are you trying to take shortcuts? What steps are you trying to skip?
I encourage you to pray about this! Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal any area that you need to work on. He is faithful and will show you!
Always keep your eyes on our precious Lord Jesus, my friends! He is the author & the finisher of our faith! We want to be like the apostle Paul and be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!”
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
2 TIMOTHY 4:5
But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 TIMOTHY 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.