On some of my runs, I’m very tempted to quit early and take a short cut home. However, what stops me is that I know that if I take a short cut today, then I’ll be even more tempted to do so again tomorrow, which will mess up my exercise routine and ultimately affect my overall health and well-being.
Shortcuts may make us feel relieved initially, but the results will be far less than they should be if we stayed the course. Our unchecked emotions and undisciplined thoughts will frequently begin to dictate to us, rather than God’s Word and overall purpose for our lives being what leads us.
Shortcuts don’t only relate to exercise but also encompass the shortcuts we can take in our work, studies and relationships. They can also include ethical, financial, moral and spiritual cutting of corners, affecting every area of our lives.
When we seek to take shortcuts, it’s a reflection of our character. We can, if not careful, begin to think our way is better than God’s wisdom and begin to question why we need to put in all that extra effort when we can take the quick and easy route to get to where we want to go.
There are specific ways to make tasks easier to complete and to achieve success. However, suppose our attitude is “show me the shortest way rather than the best way” all the time? In that case, we will short change ourselves eventually and fail to get the best out of our experiences, education and relationships.
When tempted with these thoughts, we would be wise first to ask ourselves, “Am I looking ahead and keeping pace with God’s greater plan for my life, or am I being short-sighted and looking for the easy road rather than the best way for my life.”
God’s words in the bible have some wisdom regarding shortcuts. He says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5 NLT)
Jesus said, “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with sure-fire, easy-going 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. (Matthew 7:13 The Message)
Next time you are tempted to take a shortcut, first assess the wisdom in that decision; Is it the best road rather the easiest route and if it will lead you entirely in the way God’s word instructs you to go? Because hasty shortcuts, where we rush into things, can cause us to miss the mark and the abundant life God has planned for us. Better to do things God’s way, run our race well and receive the prize.
“Don’t you realise that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step? I am not shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26)
Prayer: I’m choosing to run my race well today and not to take shortcuts. Lord, please help me have wisdom as I walk through my day and recognise where I might be tempted to make hasty decisions or cut corners in my life. Instead, I want to choose the best way, and I ask for your strength to do that today. In Jesus name Amen.