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Shortcuts Are Not An Option For Christians

1 Timothy 4:7-8 But refuse profane and old wives fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little; but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

It is tempting to take short cuts in life to save time, effort and expense. There is probably deep down in all of us a dangerous desire to take the easy way so that we can move ahead as soon as possible. Recently while watching the 1993 movie, ‘Cool Runnings’, I reflected on the relentless hours and hours of rigorous training, the countless learning from mistakes, and also the enduring of inevitable injuries that were a result of the Jamaican Bobsled’s team to secure a position at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Their high level of commitment meant that not one single member of the team took short cuts to reach the level of performance required to compete in the event. Their lives were driven with one consuming thought: to qualify for the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada.

Ironically their coach, Irving Baxter, had previously been disqualified from Olympic competition for adding weights to his bobsled and perhaps the shame associated with taking a shortcut in order to win was enough to ensure that the team he coached performed with integrity and was above reproach.

Shortcuts are so tempting. When we are tired, lack passion and commitment, and just want the task at hand to be over, we may, in desperation, look for the quickest way to get the fastest result possible. But it is no secret that the best results take the longest and require the most from us.

Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.

There were no shortcuts with Jesus, who, being without sin, became sin for us so that we could be righteous in God’s eyes (2 Corinthians 5:21). He resolutely set His face and determined to complete the work that His Father had given Him to do.

And so, it must be with us. Jesus is our example par excellence. We have been called to run the race set before us and will succeed as we keep our eyes on the prize of the upward call of knowing Jesus, and becoming more like Him, as we pursue godliness in every facet of our lives. It will take all that we have to pursue this high calling. And even more. We cannot do it on our own. And we have not been asked to. On our own we will fail, but we can do all that God asks of us through the power and strength that dwells within us. We can be strengthened by the grace that we have received in Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:1).

2 Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

Paul’s language in the New Testament is resplendent with exhortations to not give up or give in but keep chasing hard for the prize of becoming like Christ, and knowing Him more fully. He exhorts the reader to not get entangled in civilian pursuits since our aim is to please the One who calls us. He adds that an athlete will only be crowned if he keeps his eye on the prize and competes according to the rules. Finally, Paul says it is only the hard-working farmer who prepares the soil, plants the seed and waits for nature to bring forth the harvest that will reap the rewards. Short cuts are not an option for God’s people.

Although it’s tempting to take shortcuts, it’s important to remember that just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Godliness is a long slow walk in the same direction day in and day out. By dedicating time to study and reflect on God’s Word, we become spiritually stronger, and learn how to live our lives joyfully and pleasurably, before the face of God. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can nurture a desire to live with a Kingdom mindset. This mindset leads to decisions that bring us closer to the likeness of Christ, align us with God’s Kingdom ways, and can influence others as they observe our life lived to bring glory to our God.

Heavenly Father, help me to live this life to the glory of You. Forgive me when I try to take shortcuts and do not patiently persevere in the tasks that You have given me to do. Help me to trust You for all the strength and commitment I need to run the race set before me and grow into the likeness of Jesus. Thank you.’

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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  1. Jennifer,
    A great and much needed reminder, very well written. Thank you.

  2. I agree. This message was a call to actively engage our minds to trust the Lord’s ways and by His spirit to be strengthened to do what we are called to be and to do according to His will..

  3. Amen! Jennifer, excellent – so important to apply these scriptures and message into our lives.
    Thank you,
    God Bless you~

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