A common excuse for not getting things done is, “It’s too difficult”. Students use this excuse to delay completing homework assignments. Companies occasionally decry government inspections and legal requirements that will make their customers safer. I use this excuse (among others) when considering healthier choices in my own life.
Recorded in the book of Deuteronomy, as Moses was reiterating instructions from God, Moses makes the following point to the Israelites:
“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach. It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’ It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’
Deuteronomy 30:11-13 NLT
I think that it is significant that this statement follows an explanation (see Deuteronomy 30:1-19) of how the Israelites, in future generations, could turn back to God after falling away and experiencing the corresponding punishment for doing so (which Moses warned them about).
Why is this context so important? Because a life away from God (and the curse that comes with it) is exactly where each of us landed when we turned from God to our own sinful path. Once we began to willfully choose a life of rebellion against God, whether in small ways or great, we signed up for the consequences of those decisions.
Like the second-generation Israelites (the children of those who – despite being rescued from Egypt – lacked the faith that God could help them conquer the inhabitants of Canaan), God provided a path of restoration for us, as well. When Jesus gave His perfect life in exchange for our souls, our sins were paid for and our adoption papers were drawn up, ready to be signed. Despite our earlier bad decisions, we received the opportunity to enjoy a complete return to the kingdom and family of God: more complete than even the Israelites getting to the Promised Land.
Here’s the main point: returning to God is not too difficult for us. Admittedly, reconciling sinful people (us) and a holy God was nearly impossible, and none of us had a chance of doing so. Still, Jesus accomplished this task once and for all, at unimaginable cost to Himself. As a result, the hard part is completed.
However, like the Israelites to whom Moses was speaking in the passage from Deuteronomy above, we must choose to return. Even with God preparing a solution throughout millennia of history, implementing each piece of His plan at just the right time, and then doing everything that was impossible for us to achieve on our own, the last step is up to us. God does not drag us back to Himself against our will, and so – even with the limousine ready and idling on the street, ready to take us into His presence – we must choose to step into that new life.
This makes the tenth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans so timely and significant for us. Quoting Moses (centuries after Moses implored the Israelites to be faithful), Paul shows us what it means to return and enjoy being right with God again:
In fact, it says,
“The message is very close at hand;
it is on your lips and in your heart.”
And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:8-9 NLT
What is the answer that is readily available to us? As Paul explains, it is all about Jesus. We turn back to God through two things: 1) making Jesus our Lord (and, as this passage states, being serious enough about that decision to say so out loud where others can hear it), and 2) trusting that Jesus was exactly the Messiah that He claimed to be (as proven by God raising Him from the dead).
Yes, I appreciate that our selfish pride fights against us, along with our desire to live for our own entertainment, leisure, or power. Once we make Jesus the Lord (master, king, ruler, boss) of our lives, He calls us to obey some healthy and valuable instructions, and to follow His leading (see Acts 2:38, for instance), so Paul’s instructions above for salvation are just the start of a restored life with God.
Those things are not too difficult, though. Trust me, no matter how far you have gotten into sin, others have been in similar or worse situations and still took these simple steps of turning back to God, accepting the new life that Jesus offers. No matter how challenging it may be to let Jesus decide how you should live, it is possible to surrender to Him (especially with the Holy Spirit’s help, along with God the Father’s grace when we still fall short).
So, if you haven’t done so, please take the step to trust Jesus and accept His gift of salvation. It is not too difficult for you.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.