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Here is a good thought for the week: it is better to do what is right than to do what is easy. Sometimes, of course, a thing may be both right and easy -- but very often the right thing is not easy to do, and at such times a choice has to be made. When difficult choices arise, we need to be people who have disciplined our wills to do as we ought, however hard that may be.
Like water which seeks a lower level, we all seem to have within us a drive for comfort and ease. When we do "what comes naturally," we often find that what comes naturally is the thing that is easiest and requires the least discomfort. Doing the easy thing is not wrong in itself, but always following the urge to be comfortable is a dangerous thing. We need to be capable of enduring discomfort for the sake of righteousness. Sometimes real goodness and growth require us to move out of our comfort zone.
Jesus, of course, is our supreme example. To say that He had a "difficult" job to do would be an understatement. We can hardly imagine the difficulty of His ordeal in Gethsemane, the mockery of His trials through the night, and then His crucifixion the next day. But presented with challenging circumstances, Jesus chose to do His Father's will -- and we can make the same choice.
Self-discipline is the consistent ability to choose the best course of action, and it is an ability most of us could use more of. Sometimes we have to choose between good and outright evil. But more often our choice is between good, better, and best. A commitment to the lordship of Christ means we must choose the best, even over the good and the better.
In the long run, of course, doing the Lord's will always turns out to have been the easiest thing. God's commands are "not burdensome" (1 Jn. 5:3). Doing anything other than what the Lord wants always ends up being more difficult than obedience would have been. Despite his lying promises of ease and joy, the devil is a hard taskmaster, but Jesus was telling the truth when He said, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Mt. 11:30). When we side with the devil in this debate, we are being very shortsighted.
Monday: Genesis 6:11-22
Key Idea: We can obey God, even when it is not easy.
Questions for Family Growth: What was the thing God commanded Noah to do, and why would it have been difficult to accomplish? What do you think people might have said about Noah while he was building the ark?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:10.
Tuesday: Genesis 22:1-14
Key Idea: We can make sacrifices for God, even when it is not easy.
Questions for Family Growth: What sacrifice did God tell Abraham to make, and why would that have been difficult to comply with? What should we do when we do not understand why God wants us to do a particular thing?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:11.
Wednesday: Genesis 39:1-23
Key Idea: We can resist temptation, even when it is not easy.
Questions for Family Growth: What was the temptation that Joseph faced, and why would it have been difficult to resist? How old might Joseph have been when he faced this difficulty? Why did he do as he did in this situation?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:12.
Thursday: Daniel 6:1-24
Key Idea: We can stand up for what is right, even when it is not easy.
Questions for Family Growth: What right thing did Daniel have to stand up for, and why would it have been difficult to do so? What is the worst punishment any human being could bring upon us, and how does that compare to God's punishment? Consider Mt. 10:28.
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:13.
Friday: Matthew 26:36-46
Key Idea: We can give of ourselves for others, even when it is not easy.
Questions for Family Growth: What did Jesus do for mankind, and why would that have been difficult? Did Jesus have to do what He did or did He do it voluntarily? Consider Phil. 2:8 and Hb. 5:8. How did Jesus find the strength He needed?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 27:14.