The world we live in is astonishingly fast. Everything is fast. Food is fast, the internet is fast, information is fast, media is fast, shopping is fast, travel is fast… and just about everything is available. A westerner can have what he wants when he wants it more easily than he has ever been able to at any time in human history. Attention spans are becoming shorter, and it seems like if information is going to be conveyed from one human being to another, it must be done in three minutes or less, using as few words of more than one syllable as possible – preferably on youtube.
It has reminded me (and I find I need to remind myself increasingly regularly) that there are no shortcuts with God.
God is slow.
Or at least slow from our perspective. He rarely does things as fast as we want Him to, and when he does we tend to get really excited and call it a miracle, as if it was hard for Him in any way. What surprises me is that it seems that in some things, not by any means all (I believe healing for instance, we should believe to receive NOW), God actually would rather that we wait or, better, persevere.
Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7 AMP)
What does God want here? Does He want to see us beg and cry? I don’t think so. I think He is looking for the persistent faith of a child that believes their loving Father will answer so just keeps asking and reminding Him that they are there waiting and expecting.
God is faithful and He is looking for faithfulness in His children. God is patient and He is looking for patience in His children.
But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (James 1:4 AMP)
…endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. (Romans 5:4 AMP)
Perfection and completeness in anything only come with time. This is true of human character maybe more than anything else in life. If you are like me, you will know that overcoming your own failings seems to be the hardest and most agonising process. But this is what God is looking for in those who have given there lives to Him; a willingness to change and be changed by Him. He is interested in developing character – and He is prepared for the long haul.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2, NKJV)
Recently, I have been struck by the enormous quantity of 5-point plans that are flying around social media. For whatever anyone would want in life, there seems to be someone who has developed a plan of ‘5 quick and easy steps’ to get there. I laugh a little when I see these because I know that they can’t be true! There are no ‘quick and easy’ steps to a life well lived.
Anyone who has done great things in life has done so through God, and there are no quick or easy steps to a relationship with God. Like any relationship, it takes time and investment. It develops through familiarity which develops slowly. The renewal of the mind takes time in God’s Word. It takes a lifetime.
So I present to you my alternative steps to a life well-lived. I’m pretty convinced that if you do these things, you will live a fulfilled life and do great things. Will it be easy? I doubt it. Will it be quick? LOL. Will it be worth it? 100% YES.
- Understand that there are NO shortcuts with God.
- Cultivate a habitual, disciplined life of consistent PRAYER and Bible reading.
- Sincerely LOVE from the heart every person, every day.
- Do the very BEST you can do in everything that you do.
- Never, ever, under any circumstances, EVER give up.