Most people wake up each day and follow the path of least resistance. It’s in our nature. If you have a choice of walking up a hill or down a hill to get to the same place, 99% of people will walk downhill. Elevator or stairs? Elevator. Walk or drive? Drive. Write a letter or send an email? Email. And those are all fine; however the problem is that most of the time we make the same choice when it comes to more significant things in life. We would rather “go along to get along” even when it might cost us our character.
Rather than radically surrendering ourselves to the direction God has called us to walk, often we surrender our morals and say, “everyone else is doing it.” Let me ask you something: How’s that working for you? Are you happy to just go along with the crowd and be like everyone else? Everyone else is headed in the direction of least resistance. Are you happy with the result? If not, remember what I’m about to tell you: If you want what everyone else has, do what everyone else is doing…but if you want what few people have, do what few people do.
The fact is our actions are the results of our thinking: we think and then we do. Very few of the important actions in our lives are involuntary. We breathe involuntarily (that’s important), we blink (that’s important), we duck when someone throws something at us (that’s important). Other than that, almost every other action is voluntary. We act as the result of thinking.
Do you ever remember watching some scary movie when you were a kid? When it was bed time, we would sleep with the light on or put our heads under the covers. And if you forgot to close the closet door, there was no way you were going to get up in the middle of the night and close it. Why did we act that way? Because our minds were going 100 mph with scary thoughts. Our thinking affects our behavior.
In a similar way, we are conditioned to think like everyone else thinks. Some call it the ‘American Dream.’ Get a job, get married, have kids, move into a big house, drive a nice car, work all week, party on the weekends, and then retire someday to a golf course in Florida. That’s what 99% of Americans dream about. And since everyone else is living for the same dream, we think it must be the right thing to do.
What about results… what are the results of following that path? Divorce rates in America are near 50%. Debt has a stranglehold on the American family. People are still becoming drug addicts and alcoholics. Prisons are overflowing and we cannot seem to lower the crime rate. And even when surveyed, those who have succeeded in building wealth admit that there is something missing in their lives.
I tell you this for certain: I don’t want the American Dream. I don’t like the results. Instead, I want to live God’s dream for my life. And that’s what it really boils down to: you can go along to get along, do what everyone else is doing, follow the American Dream, and get what everyone else has. Or, you can choose to live backward, follow God’s vision for your life, and swim against the current of the status quo. You can do what everyone else is doing or you can do what very few people choose to do, and obtain what very few others obtain: an intimate relationship with Jesus and a vision for his kingdom.
Paul teaches, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NLT)… Think about it.