Life Has No Life Hacks

You’ve probably seen the videos or read the articles. 15 Simple Life Hacks to Use Around the House! The next thing you know, someone has figured out how to use a paperclip to make mowing the lawn 10 times easier, or box of baking soda that gives your hair volume for double the amount of time. It might not sound like it would make sense, but clever people out there figure out clever uses for everyday things that can come in handy from time to time.

Urban dictionary defines life hacks as “a tool or technique that makes some aspect of one’s life easier or more efficient.” And hey, who doesn’t like easy and efficient? So my question is, what are some life hacks that can help me in my walk with God? What life hacks will help me grow more easily and more efficiently?

I’m convinced the answer is: there aren’t any. The point of life hacks are to require the minimum amount of work for the maximum amount of productivity. But personal growth doesn’t work that way. Personal growth is a painfully slow process, and the end results are only equal to what you put into it.

This is not to say that there aren’t guaranteed ways to grow as a Christ-follower. Basic Christian obedience in Bible reading, prayer, worship, fellowship, giving, service, and evangelism are all things that God uses to mature us and grow us. But none of these can really be defined as life hacks. Reading the Bible may deepen our relationship with God, but it still requires meditation, reflection, obedience, and a bunch of time for all of that to take place. Serving others may make us feel like we are using our God-given gifts to bless others, but it still means we have to get off the couch and get out there and actually do something. Spiritual disciplines take effort, and God designed it that way on purpose.

We live in a world defined by instant gratification. We want our lunch to heat up in 60 seconds in the microwave. We want our email to ding directly into our pockets. We want our bodies to look lean and healthy in 30 days or less. Yet the reality is that life has no shortcuts. All of the things that matter in life—a strong faith, a good marriage, meaningful parenting, building character, and the like—require effort. Anything that is worthwhile in life requires worthwhile investment. There’s no life hack for developing into the person God intends you to be.

So while much of the world continues to try and get more for less, let us remember that such rules don’t apply to the real things in life. A thriving relationship with Christ will take time and effort and endurance. A lasting marriage will take patience and commitment and work. A healthy family will take intentionality and wisdom and care. Growing in character will take humility and repentance and honesty. In other words, it’s a tough ride. But it’s worth it in the end.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. (Proverbs 13:4)

What areas of your life are you trying to shortcut? Health? School? Work? Finances? Integrity? Friendship? Family? Faith? Stop trying to find the life hack that will change it all overnight. It doesn’t exist. But what you do have, at least for now, is 24 hours a day with which to expend your energy and resources. Are you frittering them away on useless things, hoping to still excel in the big stuff by undercutting the system? Don’t be a fool—God is not mocked! What you sow, you reap. If you are not investing in the things that matter, then don’t expect to enjoy much fruit there. God has designed life to be a bumpy road of rough terrain and struggle and inconvenience not so that we can find a way around them but find a way through them. With his help, we can begin to become all that he designed us to be.

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