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More years ago than I care to remember, my wife and I were living in California and we took a trip to the Sequoia National Forest and then up to Yosemite. Both of these are beautiful amazing places that I would recommend highly. What I would not recommend is the route we took between the two.
Back then there was no Google maps; we just had a map book. Looking at the map, I thought I saw a shortcut and so, rather than staying on the marked route, we went off into the back country. And it was beautiful mountain country The problem was that with all the back and forth and up and down and all around, and with driving a stick shift Ford Escort, it was definitely not a shortcut.
I just looked on Google maps and tried to recreate the trip. Their recommended route is about 300 miles and takes about six hours. The route I think we took is also about 300 miles, but it says it takes about eight and a half hours.That seems about right. I have been skeptical of shortcuts ever since! I think my left leg ached for a week after that mountain workout.
A lot of us want shortcuts in life, even in our spiritual lives. Now starting your walk with the Lord can happen in an instant. It just takes a moment to place your faith in Jesus, but that is not the end of the story. The journey begins in an instant and continues for a lifetime. Paul reminds us to, “Run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb 12:1 NIV). Perseverance or endurance refers to a long race — going the distance, crossing the finish line.
Paul uses pictures like that over and over, training for a race, preparing for battle. There is an easy spirituality that is tempting. Just show up a church once a week, get a dose from the preacher then go about your business. But that is shortchanging the Lord, in addition to shortchanging yourself. Every day the Lord wants to walk with you, to work with you, to share your burdens, to grow you and renew you.
Don’t try to take shortcuts in your spiritual life. Read your bible. Pray daily. Connect with other believers through Bible study. Don’t shortchange yourself. Spend time every day with the Lord and see if you don’t find that his way is the best way.