I loved the neighborhood our family lived in during my Elementary School years. Now, granted, this was in the 1960's and times have changed, but it was a wonderful time and place. All the neighborhood kids knew each other; even the parents knew each other. We couldn't get into too much trouble because other parents would call my parents and—well—–the rest was history as they say. Times have certainly changed. Most of us don't even know our neighbor's names today.
We would stay outside and play from sun-up to sun-down. It was football, then basketball, then we would "play army," then we might ride our bikes complete with baseball cards clipped to the spokes so we would sound like motorcycles. No video games for us. We had to entertain ourselves and didn't ever seem to have any difficulty doing so.
One of the things my friends and I loved to do was walk from my house to a Shopping Center that was behind our neighborhood. Occasionally, we got our hands on a shiny new Quarter or sometimes a Dime and you would have thought we had a million dollars. At that time, a Dime or Quarter would buy a week's supply of Pixie Stix or Hubba Bubba or Milk Duds, or maybe a Nutty Buddy or Eskimo Pie. No one during those times had any reservations about letting a group of kids walk alone up to this Shopping Center for our shopping spree.
It was a fairly long walk from our house to the Shopping Center IF we walked the long way around on the major streets. We soon discovered that there was a narrow storm drainage ditch that ran between two houses in the neighborhood that miraculously opened up in the back of the Shopping Center. We would cut through this drainage ditch and be at the Shopping Center much quicker. All we had to do was walk around to the front of the buildings and we were there!! Suddenly, the "shortcut," as we called it, was the greatest discovery since Lewis and Clark went West. You would have thought we had discovered Gold. Being able to get to the all important Shopping Center within a few short minutes, as opposed to taking 45 minutes, when we walked the long route, was life changing for Elementary School kids.
It wasn't very long after our great discovery that we began realizing the "shortcut" may not have been as great of a discovery as we first thought. We began getting scratched by briers and cut by broken glass. We sometimes ran into stray animals and neighborhood "bullies" who hid in the bushes waiting for us. We tripped and fell. We soon became faced with a decision of whether we wanted to take our chances with the "shortcut," not knowing what was lurking for us, just to save a few minutes, or go ahead and take the safer route, even though it was much longer. Most of us chose the longer, safer route. It just wasn't worth the trouble.
Our Christian life is much the same way, or at least mine has been at times. I tried to take the shortcut with my prayer life and only began praying when I thought I needed prayer. I slowly realized that I couldn't take a shortcut with my prayer life. I tried to read my Bible only occasionally, mostly on Sunday's when the Pastor asked us to. I slowly realized that I needed God's Word every day, not just once a week. I discovered that there are no shortcuts with God. He wants our all, ALL the time. When we take shortcuts with God, danger is only a short distance behind.
Is your Christian Life taking too many shortcuts? You can change that starting today.