Here’s a simple but profound maxim that I have recently come to terms with: Life, in this fallen world, is hard no matter what. It is just a matter of WHICH HARD we choose. That choice shapes and determines everything. Everything!

Here are a few HARD choices that you and I HAVE to make:

Doing God’s clearly-revealed will for you life is hard; doing your own thing is hard. Choose your hard.

Being financially disciplined is hard; being in overwhelming debt is hard. Choose your hard.

Sincerely loving the flawed people in your life is hard; passive aggressiveness toward them is hard. Choose your hard.

A healthy marriage is hard; dysfunction or divorce is hard. Choose your hard.

Honest feedback as a leader is hard; being surrounded by “yes people” is hard. Choose your hard.

Being physically fit is hard; being unhealthy is hard. Choose your hard.

Witnessing to the indifferent and even hostile lost is hard; ignoring their hell-bent destination is hard. Choose your hard.

Being part of a vibrant, growing church is hard; being a part of an apathetic, stagnant church is hard. Choose your hard.

Communication in God-given relationships is hard; not communicating is hard. Choose your hard.

Letting the Spirit of God truly lead you is hard; bowing to the demands and preferences of others is hard. Choose your hard.

Godly parenting is hard; absentee or angry parenting is hard. Choose your hard.

A strong work ethic is hard; professional and personal laziness is hard. Choose your hard.

Being a sacrificial, growing spiritual leader is hard; abdicating God-assigned influence and responsibility is hard. Choose your hard.

A personal walk with God is hard; a dusty Bible and prayer closet is hard. Choose your hard.

Living for eternal priorities and pursuits is hard; living for what you can get, feel, and accomplish only here and now is hard. Choose your hard.

Someday, doing and being right will be free of the resistance our fallen mind, heart, body, and world provide, but FOR NOW it, dear friend, will be hard. Stop looking for the easy way out. It doesn’t exist this side of heaven. As Beverly Sills writes, “There are no shortcuts to places worth going.” This leaves us with only two options:

1-To choose the easier-up-front option is to find life getting harder and harder.

Pr 13:15b “…the way of transgressors is hard.” (Has the ideas of harder in a progressive sense)

2-To choose the count-the-cost-up-front option is to find life increasing in joy and liberty with every passing day.

Pr 4:18 “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”

Would you come to terms with the irrefutable conclusion, You DON’T get to opt out of the hard options. I recently heard an athlete state, “The hardest thing to do is to work hard when no one is watching.” Someone is watching. God. Don’t just choose YOUR hard; choose GOD’S hard for you. You will not regret it by His grace and for His glory.

2 Ti. 2:1-4 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

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