In Exodus 33:14-17, Moses prays for God to go with Israel as she enters into the Promised Land. “Then Moses said to him, ‘If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us…And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.’”
You cannot claim to be God’s friend if you have no concern for pleasing God with your life. Ephesians 5:10 tells us “Find out what pleases the Lord.” Sounds simple enough, but not every Christian has this mindset.
I was talking to someone once who was struggling with a moral dilemma. They more or less came to me looking for a pastoral blessing on a bad choice they were about to make. And the thing was, they knew what was right and wrong in this situation! In fact, this person said at very beginning of the conversation, “Look, I know as a Christian that the hard way is usually the God way.”
And then they proceeded to beg me to help them take the easy way out. Well, physician, heal thyself! Clearly, this person’s instinct was not to please the Lord, but to satisfy their own self-centered desires.
I thought what this person said was pretty fascinating. “The hard way is usually the God way.”
Jesus himself said, “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt.7:13-14). It’s easier to want the divorce than work on the marriage. It’s easier to cave in to the temptation than to fight it. It’s easier to go along with the crowd than to be the one who stands out by making the right choice. It’s easier to point fingers and blame the other person for your relationship struggles than try to listen, forgive, and do the hard work of reconciliation.
No one said that following Christ was going to be easy. Jesus himself asked the Father if another way was possible than the way of the cross. But there was no other way for him, and there is no other way for us. The hard way is usually the God way, and also – don’t forget this – it’s the best way.
The hard way is usually the God way, and also – don’t forget this – it’s the best way.
But here’s the good news. Though it’s the hard way, in fact way too hard to do it on our own, we don’t have to do it on our own. The Gospel teaches us that God knows we’re powerless to live a life that pleases him on our own. So he came to earth in Jesus Christ to die for our forgiveness and our freedom. For those who own up to their weakness and sin, Jesus himself with come alongside us to do the journey of life with us.
Cry out to him today. Seek him. Listen to him. Yield to him. His arms are open wide. And his friendship is for you.