“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
This version of today’s verse is a modern paraphrase, but it spoke deeply to me as we think and talk about heaven this week. I don’t like the idea that I sometimes look for “shortcuts to God.” That is a phrase that makes me want to quickly build a defense for my actions. My instinct is to cry out, “Well, that’s not what I’m doing.” But I think there are times when my relationship with God is more about what is easiest for me to accomplish and less about what God wants for me. I do enough to feel good about myself, but not enough to really feel stretched by God’s plan for my life. I think that qualifies as a shortcut.
Living in a way that pleases and honors God brings fulfillment, joy, and peace. We all want that! But the choices that lead me to life – to God – aren’t always the easiest to make. They set us apart from the crowd. They are different from the choices the majority of people make. They require our attention and our focus – all of it. We cannot give God only a portion of ourselves and expect to find the fullness – the fulfillment, joy, and peace – of relationship with Him. It is a choice. A choice to live differently in order to really live.