Shortcuts Only Produce Plastic Fruit

Things arent always as they appear. Most adults know this to be true. But children often learn the hard way. A few years back my wife and I were invited to a friends house for dinner. We brought our little one and she was fascinated by her new surroundings. Our friends have a coffee table with a bowl filled with a variety of fruits. Instantly, it caught our daughters eyes. She started smacking her lips saying num nums (her expression for food). We watched her as she reached for the fruit, grabbed an apple, and attempted to sink her front two teeth into it.  The taste of plastic left not only a bad taste in her mouth, but also left her confused and frustrated. What appeared to be a bowl of fresh fruit or, in our daughters world, num nums turned out to be just hollow pieces of plastic. Something that appeared to bring nourishment was empty on the inside.

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that many times we treat our relationship with God like a bowl of plastic fruit. In an age of instant information, microwave ovens and quick fixes, the idea of staying in a place for an extended period of time for inner working to begin is such a foreign concept.  We desire change in our timing and if it doesnt come right away we move on to the next thing demanding our attention. This mindset encourages us to look for band-aid (behavior change and shortcuts) solutions to cure the deeper issues taking place inside our heart.

Fixing bad habits like swearing, overeating, and gossiping takes effort for sure, but isnt that overtly challenging to do. Relying on pure will power, you can quit engaging in destructive behaviors for a period of time. To the outsiders eyes, it might appear that growth has occurred and it has to a degree. But, you still leave yourself vulnerable to falling back to your old ways if you dont search for the deeper struggles of the heart. You have to avoid taking shortcuts and devote the time necessary to ask what drives those bad habits.

If you are ever going to have the chance for real change to occur, you must see past the lie that a change in behavior is all you need. Going to the gym to get in shape will not answer the question of why you turn to food when you are depressed. You might solve your lusting problem by getting rid of your computer, but have you taken the time to fully understand your tendency to turn to pornography when you are lonely and craving intimacy?

Disciplines can become shortcuts if you don’t take the time to answer the question “why.” Finding the answers to those challenging questions requires brutal honesty. This is the reason many of us stop short of true spiritual transformation and exchange it for shortcuts and a false sense of outer change. As you begin to arrange your life around your one word, remember growth requires time and intention on your part. Fight the urge to be plastic fruit by relying on shortcuts.

Wed love to hear your response to the following question: Why do you seek out quick fixes rather than devote the time towards inner change? What are some examples of shortcuts youve taken that have led to plastic fruit?

  • Teresa

    Lazy is the first word that comes to mind. Also loneliness. I along with many others I know fill those gaps in our lives with over eating. why I do it is only because I am weak with out God’s word planted in my heart. Fasting has been a heavy burden on my heart lately. I start the night before and swear that tomorrow I will start. By eight in the morning,” my morning starts at 4:30 am” , I am starving and give up without a fight. My frustration only compounds itself.

  • JACKIE

    MY ANSWER TO WHY I HAVE CHOSEN QUICK FIXES IS BECAUSE OF IMPATIENCE. I KNOW THAT I WANT TO IMPROVE ON MANY THINGS. BUT THESE ARE THINGS THAT I WANT TO CHANGE TO BE A BETTER PERSON NOT JUST FOR ME BUT FOR THOSE AROUND ME AND MOST OF ALL FOR GOD. SO RATHER THAN TAKE A LONG TIME TO ALLOW TRANSFORMATION I TRY TO DO IT QUICKLY. I NOTICE THAT THE SMALL IMPROVEMENTS DON’T REALLY STICK AND I END UP REVERTING BACK TO THE OLD SELF. THIS IS THE REASON I PICKED WALK FOR MY WORD. SO THAT THE CHANGES WILL BE TRANSFORMATIONS AND NOT CONFORMATION.

  • Christina

    I think a quick fix is easier because you feel like you are doing something good by “changing”, but it really doesn’t conflict with what you REALLY want to do. It is so much easier to make the outside look good, without changing inside.

    I struggle with things that I have found a temporary solution for, then has come to haunt me.
    I had a big time problem with drinking excessively and my solution was to literal uproot my life “fix” my problem thinking it was the people and things around me causing my partying.

    Of course, I continued to have my problem at a distance, but found a way to conceal it for the time being.

    Two years later I thought I was a changed person and was back in my familiar surroundings. I found myself drinking excessively and being horrible to the people I loved. It took a all time low to really think “WHY” am I doing this to myself? to others?

    Four months later I am still asking why and dealing everyday with demons I struggle with, but my faith is keeping me focused on how I want to truly be….INSIDE!

  • I Have Learned And I’m Still Learning That Quick Fixes Don’t Work. 5 Years Ago This Month After Almost 9 Years Of Marriage I Was Divorced. I Tried To Make Some Quick Fixes In My Marriage, Like Assuming Control In Most Of The Marriage Instead Of Letting God Be In Control. When Unhappy Or Unsastified In The Areas Of Romance/Imitamacy, Often I Would Turn To Chat Rooms, Which Lead To Long Conversations With Other Men That I Should Of Only Had With My Husband, But For Me I Found It Easier To Talk To A Stranger Than Him. Though I Have Pretty Much Put This Behind Me, There Are Other Areas In My Life I Try To Fix Quickly, But Often When I Do, God Is Usually There To Say, “Slow Down And Let Me Fix It For You”.

  • flutter

    because plastic fruit is easy… it looks good and it doesn’t take too much work. It’s neat and tidy and we basically get the outward result we want. Most of all, it puts on a good show, and as long as we don’t get too close, or don’t let others too close, we don’t have to worry about being found out. If we don’t look too close, we may not even notice that they are fake.
    another reason is because God is the only real fruit, and our way is always the shortcut… we don’t want to give God complete control (or admit that we aren’t… we are Christians after all… )
    So the plastic fruit stays, and we just close our eyes to the reality that God is not really God in our lives
    (in my life…ouch… that’s gonna change!)