It has become increasingly clear that our culture loves convenience. Nearly every new gadget is marketed to somehow make life easier and processes faster. I have found myself saying, in regards to a meal or plans, let’s just do what’s easiest. We wouldn’t want to waste any time or put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. We want meals with few ingredients and short cook times. We want the quickest route to anywhere. I’ve even heard people express their desire for different placement of buttons on their iPhone to make navigating the system faster.
I’ve been working within the local church ministering to women and helping them study the Bible for the last several years, and I find this idea of convenience translates directly. We tend to want short classes, bite-sized chunks, spoon-fed teaching, and a moral at the end of the story. We want to be immediately sanctified. We want to go around trials, instead of through them. We want to stay in the comfort zone of our home even if that means we sacrifice mission. We want what’s easiest. Honestly, I can’t blame the church for feeling this way, the culture has shaped the idea that what is best, is also easiest and fastest. We’ve been conditioned to desire the fast track.
I remember listening to my parents discuss the invention of the microwave. They describe the excitement of this new appliance that would cook things so fast. I can imagine having never seen a device like this, that I would be fascinated as well. What I know to be true about the microwave is that it does heat things fast, but it tends to do so unevenly. I don’t know the science behind it, I just know that when I pull my leftover chicken fried rice out, some parts will be scalding hot and others cold. I’m not bashing the microwave, I put ours to good use. However, I would say that I use it for convenience and not quality.
When I think of my church, my prayer is that the opposite would be true. That they would come to desire quality over convenience. For anyone who knows how to cook quality food, you know that it is not always fast and easy. The same is true for our walk as believers. If we want to know God’s Word, if we want to know Him deeply, if we want to grow in sanctification – we must let go of the notion that it will always be convenient. We must sacrifice fast and easy for the good of our own faith.
A fast and easy faith is often a shallow faith rooted in nothing more than what we think we know. Intentionality shapes the life of the believer who truly seeks the Father. In-depth Bible study doesn’t always come in short classes and convenient bite-sized chunks. Being spoon fed the truth doesn’t result always result in an abiding faith. Sanctification does not happen overnight. Some trials are meant to be walked through and experienced rather than avoided. The longer I live, the more I read of Scripture, the more I’m convinced that a deep walk with God is not marked by convenience.
Just like the temperature of our food, when we treat our relationship with God like it’s microwavable, we end up with an uneven faith. We have spot knowledge of Scripture with no real grasp of anything. We might understand the gospel but have no ability to handle suffering. We are committed to church gatherings but don’t know what to do with our command to go and make disciples. Some parts end up hot and others end up cold. I don’t believe this is the kind of faith to which we are called.
Today, friends, I urge you to take the long road. Sign up for the class at your church that will challenge you. Trust that God is sanctifying you even when it feels slow. Decide that convenience will not drive all of the decisions of your life. Decide that fast and easy is cheap and fleeting and you will fight for a deeper faith than that.