Shortcuts to God
20 April 2017
Reading: 1 Samuel 23; Psalm 31, 54; Matthew 7
13 “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. 14 The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.” (Matthew 7:13-14 MSG)
I wish I could find shortcuts to everything. I’ve got shortcuts on my computer desktop so I can reach frequently-used documents and programs with only one mouse click. I’ve tried four different routes to drive from my home to the other side of town, hoping to find the short-cut that gets me through one minute quicker.
It’s so tempting to believe the ads that promise I can eat all I want and lose weight. It’s tempting to believe that there is a vitamin supplement that will restore to me the energy of a twenty-five year old. Is it true that in only twenty minutes of exercise three times per week I can have a Bow-Flex body?
Books, slogans, programs, formulas – shortcuts. It’s how we do things. We look for a plan in which someone has taken the complex and challenging process—whether for weight loss and fitness or success in business or healthy spirituality—and reduced it to a program we can practice without significant disruption to our busy schedule.
There are no shortcuts to God. To walk with God takes time, attention, and energy. Unless I spend time—quantity time, not just “quality time”—with God in Bible reading, journaling, praying, listening, obeying, I drift. Unless I apply the things I read this morning to my interactions with people I encounter today, I’m just kidding myself.
“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, …they are foundational words, words to build a life on.” (Matthew 7:24 MSG)
The attitudes and practices that produce real spiritual growth—that will, over time, make me a man of God—can’t be simply added onto my life. They must become my life.
Father, I want to give my life of faith my total attention and I want to do it without living in a monastery. I will take the long way home. No shortcuts. I will read, pray, write, think, apply, and obey. No shortcuts to God. By your grace. Amen.