After I travel to and from a place many times I usually start trying to figure out a shortcut. When you know the way well, you can begin to take back roads which avoid traffic, construction and annoying stop lights. Is there such a shortcut to holiness? I think so but first consider the tradeoff.
Jesus said; “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Mark 8:34) Denying yourself can be the shortcut but it is also the tradeoff. You know the saying, “No pain – no gain.” Denying yourself is big time pain!
For instance, you can deny yourself self pity when you really want to wallow in it. You can deny yourself passing on that juicy tidbit of gossip. You can deny yourself the last word in an argument. You can deny your eyes that second glance at the seductive magazine cover. You can deny yourself the temper tantrum demanding to burst forth.
Each “deny” takes up the cross which represents death. Jesus’ cross cost him his life but in our case it is death to self, death to the flesh, death to our own will. Does a day ever go by without some opportunity to take a divine shortcut to holiness? No, but sadly I often don’t use my chances.
The next time I start to ignore the shortcut before me, I need to remember Jesus also said this; “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)