Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
After making changes to a part of your life, have you ever been tempted to take a shortcut? Have you felt that things are moving too slowly and you figure you have to find a better way? Maybe it is that chance you are convinced will work and know it will get you ahead quicker?
There are always those situations where you think no one is looking and the shortcut worked the last five times you tried it. But that sixth time you freeze when you hear that voice behind you asking, “What are you doing?” The first word that pops into your mind in this situation may be “busted” or it could be any number of stronger words. The bottom line is that too often we end up regretting many of the shortcuts we take.
You could be one of the lucky ones that would say they never tried to cheat the system or take an alternate route. Being that we are all flawed beings that are not perfect there is always a little tarnish somewhere on our armor. It just may be hard to see where it is or they could be good at hiding it. We have all been shocked by a person who was in the news for something you were sure that they would never do.
You might be one of those who tried a crash diet, got involved in a get rich quick scheme, or found out that you really can’t fix everything with duct tape. It doesn’t even have to be one of these obvious examples. I have seen people sabotage a co-worker so they can get a promotion, break any number of traffic laws because they don’t see police, or have someone else do their work. Some may not think so, but these are all a version of a shortcut because you are cutting corners to get something you didn’t deserve.
I’m sure we have all heard that there is satisfaction in an honest days work. I know that I am more at ease when I am completing what I need to in a way that is professional and ethical, rather than looking over my shoulder to see if someone is watching. The latter is no way to live and can be the negative direction that prevents us from getting to where we need to be.
Some experts say that it is human nature to want things to be quicker and easier. This may be true, but I have found that far too often I was only pushed backwards or forced to start again. What we need to strive for are positive steps as we are moving forward. The slow going may get frustrating at times, but we have more control of the outcomes that we are trying to attain. This slow and steady approach has helped me to be more in control of what I am trying to accomplish and if I need strength or guidance to continue I call on the Lord.
I have had some interesting conversations with God over the years and have no doubt there are plenty more to come. I find the peace and the focus that I need to keep the progress going and resist the temptation to use that quick fix or just give up. It also helps me to prevent all the negative input and choices from affecting what needs to be done.
The one scripture I rely on to remind me that God will help me to stay on the right path is Colossians 3:23. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Even when I am tempted God is there to give me strength and no matter who I think I’m fooling or that no one is looking, God sees and is not fooled. Even if you are not doing it for God you still have to remain true to yourself.
I’m sure you can sit down and remember every time you tried that shortcut and found a dead end, I know I can. Some of us have a hard time realizing this or maybe we just don’t want to accept the slower journey so we keep getting ourselves lost and can’t find the way back.
This is why concentrating on the positive steps we can take lets you remain on a lighted path rather than straying into the shadows or the dark forest. This is echoed in Philippians 4:8 (NLT) “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Sometimes the right frame of mind is everything, it can either dispel the doubts that may be creeping in or enlarge them to such a degree that we can’t see anything else. Even when we do this it does not prevent obstacles from appearing in front of us. Some may be a petty nuisance while others seem insurmountable, but we just have to not let them sidetrack us.
If need be, pause, take a deep breath. You may even need a moment to ponder the progress you have made thus far, just remember to focus on the positive and not let it defeat you. This is where I would also add a few extra prayers for the obstacle to be removed, the strength to keep going, and solutions I may have overlooked. I do this quite often in between my prayers of thanks and for other people.
So, If you are facing a struggle don’t despair, just keep putting one foot in front of the other on that positive path ahead of you and call on the Lord. He is right there with you and will see you through. Now please enjoy “All Doubt Will Be Released” and a reminder this is a continuation of the previous two poems.
ALL DOUBT WILL BE RELEASED
I can feel your presence and I know I can trust your path ahead,
But there are so many diversions that can sidetrack me instead.
I keep seeing the little shortcuts that I’ve tried to use before,
Just to make things easier they are almost too tempting to ignore.
They could get me farther even though there’s a little risk,
I do not see anyone watching so this is a way I could pick.
My child, you have been that way before and know where it could lead,
Even though your progress may be slow a quick fix is not what you need.
Steady progress is what to strive for and now you must remain strong,
If you truly believe I am watching over you, then nothing will go wrong.
My Spirit will help you stay focused while your confidence is increased,
As you accomplish the next part of your journey All Doubt Will Be Released.