Rivers will always run the course of least resistance as they make their way down into the sea. Going around obstacles, they leave behind their crooked trails that are easily visible from a high point of view. Rivers are beautiful. If one is careful to observe, they also offer warning.
As Christians, we too can follow the path of least resistance. In fact, most of us do so already. We go around our obstacles never thinking about going through them. We avoid the things that make us uncomfortable in our Christianity and as we look behind, all we can see are the crooked trails that we have blazed. And so the Christian blueprint, the example, we leave behind is one characterized by ease, pleasure, and popularity.
The Christian faith that God gifted to the world was not one of fear and weakness, but courage and power. The people of the true Christian faith are characterized as living in the realm of impossibility. We were meant to go through our obstacles, not around them. We were meant to go through our spiritual “mountains” (Matthew 17:20). We were meant to spiritually “walk on water” (Matthew 14:28-31). But it takes faith to accomplish the things that seem impossible for us to accomplish. And if we understand God’s definition of faith, we understand that we must progress beyond a simple belief of the mind to a belief that takes action (Luke 6:46)
God wants us to realize that there is no force on earth that will prevent His Will from happening in the lives of those who seek to do His Will. But it takes a trusting and confident heart to know that where we put our limits, God goes beyond them. What this causes us to do is stop making excuses for our lack of commitment, motivation, obedience, and our giving in to fear. In God’s eyes, “I can’t” really means, “I won’t.”
We leave behind spiritual paths. What these paths indicate is whether we truly believed that with God, the impossible becomes possible (Matthew 19:26). The crooked path lets God know that we put more faith in our strength than His. But the straight path indicates that we never let our obstacles dictate where we were going because we were too busy looking straight ahead through the mountains at our Lord Jesus Christ. For this is the essence of faith. Faith isn’t blind to the obstacles that serve to hinder our spiritual growth, but its focus is on He who says, “Come” (Matthew 14:29). It is those who “go” who truly understand that it’s not necessary to know how they are “walking on water,” but the fact that Jesus said they could.
We never want to be like the river and follow the path of least resistance because it only leads one way – down (Matthew 7:13). This should wake us up and cause us to evaluate how well we have handled our Christian decision-making process. Are we quick to run away from opportunities that challenge our personalities and comfort? Do we avoid taking on a spiritual task that we have deemed too hard to accomplish? Would we rather make excuses for our selfishness, stubbornness, and pride than actually trying to remove these “mountains” that hinder our faith?
Let us be like Noah, who by faith, took on a task to build something seemingly impossible but knew that with God it was not only possible, but certain (Hebrews 11:7). Let us be like Abraham, who by faith, did something incredibly difficult and left everything he knew to go to a place he knew nothing about without a plan for survival, because God told him to do so (Hebrews 11:8-10). Let us learn from Moses and trust not in our own abilities to do an incredible task but on the limitless abilities of God (Exodus 4:10-14).
Our river has not yet run its course. Today we breathe, and that means there’s still time to correct ourselves. Let’s stop going around the obstacles that make our paths crooked. It’s time to blaze a new path – an unpopular path, a difficult path – straight through the mountain, for this “is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14).
“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil” (Proverbs 4:25-27)