The Path of Least Resistance

It’s a well known fact that things will take what is commonly known as the path of least resistance. And, although it’s not actually considered a truism of the study of physics (it is actually referred to as “folk physics”), nonetheless you can witness this phenomenon in the world. Consider nature, a river will naturally flow around a mountain rather than directly through the mountain. During a flood, the cresting river will overflow it’s banks in the lower places first. But within the forces of nature is not the only place that we see this path of least resistance.

We also see it in our own human nature. We get tired, and we simply cave in. We even do the things that we do not want to do, only because it’s easier at the time. And when we do that, we too are following the path of least resistance. Then when we do that time and time again, we develop a habit of following the path of least resistance. Once a habit is engrained in our behavior it becomes more difficult to get rid of that habit. I have to admit that there are countless times that I have chosen to do what feels good at the moment, is the most pleasant, or easiest thing to do.

But, is it ultimately easier? Let’s take a look at an example to which most parents can relate. You have a five year old child that is old enough to know better, and perhaps you are shopping with them in the grocery store. They want you to purchase a candy bar for them. You really don’t have the money, and it’s getting close to dinner time. You tell your child no. And, what ensues is a battle of wills. They whine, they cry, they pitch a fit. Both of you are angry and upset, and all you want to do is make it stop. So, what is the path of least resistance? You purchase the child the candy bar and give it to them. You have now set a precedent, and you have taught your child that anytime they want anything all they have to do is have a fit. They know that you will cave. You’ve created a monster, and unless you nip this in the bud, it will haunt you for a very long, long time.

Despite our best efforts we will not avoid pain in our lives. As we saw with the above example, giving in to the young child has actually made your life much more difficult, instead of easier. I have found that the greatest growth in my life has come from the very hard times, those times when I faced the giant without armor and did so with a slingshot and five smooth stones. It is in those times that I turn to God and totally rely on Him. God intends for me to become the best person that I can possibly be, and I can only do that through those times when I don’t choose the path of least resistance, when I don’t take the easiest and most convenient way out. Each and every time, God has shown up, and each time my faith has expanded. I gain the knowledge that God is with me through every situation, and He has something to teach me, something that will make me a better person. God’s plan is far greater than mine. And when I, like David give the glory to God, I have defeated that habit of taking the path of the least resistance.

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