The Easy Way?
How many of you have ever started a “fad-diet” in the hopes of shedding a few pounds? Pretty much everyone right! The South Beach Diet... The Grapefruit diet... the Cabbage Soup diet (no... just, no). I’ve tried Weight Watchers and the Slim Fast diets. They all work to some degree and for a while, I suppose.
The only one that really appealed to me was the “Atkins Diet” - the original one - that came out in the 1970's. I’ve always called it the “Bacon Diet” because, back then, you could eat all the bacon you wanted with Atkins. Of course, Dr. Atkins died of heart attack... but I’m sure he died happy!
We all succumb to all kinds of “fads” and gimmicks - don’t we? Like... the handy dandy “banana slicer” - because we all know how difficult it can be to slice a banana... with a butter knife.
Or the nifty little gadget I saw advertised just this last week... the “Strawberry De-stimmer” - because, again, a knife is too complicated to operate.
Then, when it comes to fads and gimmicks - pretty much any product marketed by RONCO qualifies. They’re true design is to separate your money from your wallet!
And they’re successful many times... because... we’re always on the lookout for something that promises to make life easier... and because of that... we fall for a lot of things that are not as good as they sounded as a result.
Jesus had something to say about the easy way... in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-14): “Enter through the narrow gate (the hard way). For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (the easy way), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Of course, when we’re NOT looking for an easier way... we’re often trying muscle our way through life. If we just push ourselves to the max... and work and work and work some more... then our willpower will help us through. And while I’m all-in for willpower and doing your part, there are certainly things that willpower alone can’t fix.
The fact is, there are no quick fixes, no easy way outs in life... and willpower, self-determination, and going “our-own-way” isn’t always enough.
But there’s a secret to living life to the full... and that “secret” is to know and face the truth.
Of course, it’s really no “secret” at all... and it applies to every area of life: You & I must know and face the truth about ourselves, our relationships, and our own nature if we hope to find contentment and peace in our life...
And knowing the truth (and accepting the truth) is crucial... Because behind every self-defeating action and bad habit in your life is a lie that you & I mistakenly taken for the truth.
Well, just one puff won’t hurt, will it?
Just one sip...
just one taste...
just one look...
just one touch...
If you & I get into too much of anything... it’s usually because we have the propensity, or inclination, to rationalize our way into getting what we want.
So we willingly fall for the lies.
*“I know it’s not good for me, but no one will know.”
*“I know I can’t afford it, but everyone else has one.”
*“God wants the best for me, and ‘the best’ is whatever I want at the moment!”
We take a kernel of truth, and we multiply it to a bushel of falsehood. And then... we wanta pass the blame for our mistake in judgment on to someone else.
It’s a story as old as the Bible itself. In fact, it goes all the way back to Genesis... the beginning. Adam & Eve... “Surely you won’t die?” “Lord, my wife gave it to me, it’s her fault!” “No, it was the Devil... the Devil made me do it!” When all along, we “did it” because we wanted to do it... IT WAS THE EASY WAY OUT... we fell for the lie, we took the bait, hook line and sinker... And when that happens, more often than not, we find ourselves in a place we’d rather not be.
Because we find ourselves in opposition to God. We find ourselves settling for less than what God intended for us. We find ourselves “cursed” by the choices we make.
In the case of Adam and Eve, God’s intent was a life of joy and peace... a “full and abundant” life lived in the Garden of God’s grace... surrounded by plenty... with provisions to spare!
Of all of the trees in the Garden, of all of the choices, God placed restrictions on ONE... and that one would make all the difference. You and I still feel the effects of the Fall, today.
Of course, if you have children or grandchildren... or if you’ve ever just been around other people... then you know the best way to test a rule (or standard), is to set a rule (or standard), right?
“Don’t touch... wet paint” - what’s the first thing some people are gonna do. TOUCH IT!
Tell a toddler not to touch a hot stove or oven... and the next thing you hear... is crying because they touched the hot stove.
Of course, we all do it... no one is innocent... and that’s why this ancient story rings true in our modern ears!
But I can’t help but wonder why? Why do we keep falling for it? Why does it seem so easy to fall for deception of this world, instead of heeding the truth?
Could it be (maybe... just maybe) we allow ourselves to ultimately believe the truth is optional. It’s variable. Or, maybe it goes even deeper... because in our world today, many profess there’s no such thing as truth. That we all determine our own truth.
Despite the fact that God’s Word says Jesus is the Truth, and that all things are subject to his rule and authority.
And without the Truth of Christ, we’re forever captive to our own nature and the deceptive, destructive tendencies of the world... Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32). Jesus also said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” We will find what we’re looking for... and longing after... when we find it in Christ alone.
You and I will forever be manipulated and deceived by the world and it’s “easy ways” - unless we know the Truth, and abide in it.
And “whoever lives by the truth comes into the light” - living by the truth brings us into a right relationship with God.
That’s why it’s so important for you & me to daily walk with Christ... to spend time in the Word of God and in prayer: it’s only when we know the Truth that the Truth will set us free.
If we build our lives on a foundation of lies, misconceptions, or half-truths, we will always struggle with the world’s deception. We’ll forever be looking for something that never satisfies... something that’s less that what God has intended for you and your life.
Let’s commit ourselves, as followers of Christ, to abide in Christ... to seek his face in all things... and seek the truth that is Christ... as we listen to his voice, above the deceptive voices of this world.
For only then, will we find the Truth that sets us free.