The other day, I was driving through my neighborhood and saw the weekly posting from our neighborhood “artist/activist”. It went something like this – “The path of least resistance is the right path, because it is the easiest path to follow”. Now I’m hoping that she was being sarcastic, but I couldn’t help wondering how many people passing by would agree with that statement.
The notion that life would somehow be better if there was no resistance is dangerous to us as individuals, and as a society on the whole. Resistance is built into the fabric of our reality. So much that we do, and need involves resistance, existence would probably fall apart if there was no resistance. Consider some of the things I’ve heard from people on the path of least resistance:
- Why should I drive if I can get you to take me wherever I want to go?
- Eating healthy can be so expensive. I’m good where I am right now.
- I won’t learn a new skill on my job because that may mean more will be expected of me.
- Becoming a Christian will make my life so difficult and boring. YOLO
- I’ve always been abrasive, and people just need to accept me the way and I am.
- If you didn’t stress me out all the time, I wouldn’t have to hit you/or drink/smoke weed to calm down.
James 1:2-4 MSG says – “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” Jesus’ brother, is telling us, based on his own experience that challenges in life are gifts. He even tells us why. Resistance is a tool that God uses to make us better.
Everything that is meaningful and beneficial for our personal, professional, social, and spiritual lives takes pushing back against resistance to accomplish. We would never learn to walk as toddlers if we didn’t learn how to overcome resistance. Muscles don’t grow unless they have sufficient resistance applied to them. In fact, our general health and well-being is based on providing resistance to bacteria and viruses.
Following Christ presents us at times with the greatest resistance we will encounter in this life. Resistance from our families, our friends, our co-workers and employers. Following Christ might eliminate the possibility of getting closer to that special someone we’re crushing on at the moment. Jesus Christ is God’s gift to us to fully develop us. As it says in John 3:16b – it is up to us to accept God’s gift and start off on the path of greater resistance. Peter and Paul make it plain that there is both suffering and rewards to following Christ, but the rewards far outweigh the suffering – 2 Corinthians 4:16,18; Philippians 3:7-10; 1Peter 1:6,7. Following the path least resistance is the wrong path because it eventually leaves you weak and lone. As C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity – “Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory or one of unthinkable horror.” Which way will you chose?