Taking the Easy Way Out

 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

These verses always remind me of my junior high days. I went to a youth weekend at my uncle’s church, and the leaders of my group of about 10 junior high boys wanted to help understand these verses. So, they told us that there was a prize and some markers that would lead to it somewhere on the forty or so acres of woods and farmland. Then, they sent us out to look. What they didn’t tell us was that there were older high school and college guys with paintball guns who tried to keep us from finding the prize.  I distinctly remember myself and one other boy found the first marker at the edge of the woods. We then proceeded, under withering paintball fire, to traverse through thorns, and mud, and dense woods and find marker after marker, each one leading us to a more difficult path. But, at the end of the line, we found the prize. I don’t remember what the prize was, or who was with me. All I remember is that in order for me to have found the prize, I had to go through some pretty challenging situations (at least for a junior higher).

Over the past week or so, I have read and heard from many different sources about the choice between taking the easy or taking the hard way. It seems that the world has “adopted an ‘escalator mentality’ – one that says getting what we want shouldn’t require much work, and that there are always shortcuts in business and in life.”[1] We want what we want; we want it now; and we don’t want to work for it. The idea of sacrifice is completely foreign to popular culture.

Sacrifice is hard.

It’s so much easier to do what feels good, right hear and right now, and we’ll worry about later, well, later.

But, the easy way out is a one-way ticket to destruction. The gate is wide and the way is broad, it’s easy to see and easy to travel. The path that leads to life is anything but easy. Now, whether we’re talking about money, success, jobs, relationships, or whatever, in order for us to get the best results, we have to put in some hard work and do some things that might not be very fun. That’s especially true in our spiritual lives. If we want to follow the path that leads to life, it’s going to be tough, and there are things we have to do that aren’t fun. Sacrificing our time and money isn’t always fun.

Repenting of our sins is tough. Confessing those same sins to God and to other believers can be painful. Giving up our will so that we can do God’s will is difficult. But, you have to “live like no one else [now, so that] later you can live like no one else.”[2] Most people take the easy way out now, which later leads to destruction. Don’t be like everyone else. Take the challenges of the narrow path, and live with complete abandon to Christ, so that later, you can live in the life of Christ.

[1] Vaden, Rory; ­Take The Stairs; 2012; p. 4

[2] Ramsey, Dave; Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money; 2011; p. 22

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