From an early age, it has been my habit to try to make things work better. When I began to learn about computers in 1982, I discovered “shortcut keys,” or combinations of keystrokes that can do several steps at one time. For example, typing “Control-C” will copy something from a computer screen, and “Control-V” will paste what was copied. Over the years these shortcuts have improved, upgraded, and multiplied. Today there are hundreds of shortcut keys. Most people use just a few. It is smart to learn and use the tools available, both in technology and in life.

Learning Shortcuts – Even though you must learn some things for yourself, it is wise to learn from other people’s mistakes. A mentor can teach you very much. Observe, watch, study, and imitate good habits and lessons. Retrain yourself, adjust, and improve. The Bible gives instruction for life and the future. There you can learn what is right and how to make right decisions. There you can learn how to get along well with others. Also, you can learn your spiritual gifts and how to use them for God, how to have good morals, how to be faithful, how to have humility, how to develop leadership abilities, and much more. As you study the principles, they become shortcuts to serving the Lord. Computer shortcuts require study. Bible principles are “shortcuts” to change your life. As you learn the Bible, your influence will grow.

No Shortcuts – There are no shortcuts for many things in life. There is no substitute for the 12 years of school required for graduation. Relationships also require time. Experiences help you learn and remember life’s lessons. Learning sign language is a process. New signers may be embarrassed that they do not sign well, but they must remember that no person is born knowing signs. Everyone starts at the beginning, but they can learn from others. There is no substitute for being around Deaf people, watching how they use signs. There are no shortcuts. You must study and learn.

There are no shortcuts to learning the Bible. It has been said if you want to know about math, study a math book; if you want to learn about history, study a history book; if you want to know about life, study the Bible. Eventually you will need to learn for yourself. Studying the Bible every day will help you learn principles that will make your life’s decisions much easier.

Shortcuts Rejected – Some people never think outside the limits of their understanding. They are closed to new information and new ways of thinking. Some are too proud to learn. Some think they already know everything. Others rely on Google or YouTube for their only sources. They do not learn, improve, or grow. They do not want “shortcuts” for their life. Later, they lose their influence and ability to contribute. It is easy to become lazy and live only with old habits. It is easy to think the future will be the same as the past. Even the great Samson relied on the past and did not realize that he had lost his fellowship with the Lord (Judges 16:20). Spiritual growth requires diligence and effort (2 Peter 1:5-8). Everyone needs Bible “shortcuts” or principles.

An Example From Computers – I am often amazed how people like to stay with old, outdated, and even bad habits. When I show some people an easier way to do something, they sometimes ignore the advice and prefer to do it the long or hard way. I watch them waste much time because they refuse to learn, grow, and change. A template is a pattern used to make something again. On computers, document templates can help you start with a successful document and not need to re-create the whole document from scratch. For example, when I write someone a letter, I start with the good template from a previous letter. Many of the decisions are already made, and I can focus on the new information. In the same way, when you learn and use Bible principles, you use God’s template for life. Someone said, “You don’t need to jump off a cliff to find out what will happen.” Don’t learn the hard way. Learn Bible principles that will change your life.

Decide Your Shortcuts – One of the most valuable things I learned early in life was to decide my behavior and response before something happened. With Bible principles I made decisions before they were needed. I thank God that in high school before I went on a date I decided what I would do and would not do on a date. I made several other decisions the same way. These decisions became “shortcuts” that have saved my life and ministry more than once. Decisions are easier when you have already decided your “shortcut.”

How do you get these shortcuts? Spend time learning from your Bible every day. Decide that you will always learn and grow, and change for good. Decide that you will do right. Decide that you will give yourself to God, and let Him use you. Create good “shortcuts” for life, and you will not have to learn the hard way. I am very glad that I learned “shortcuts” for life. Many hard decisions became easier. Let God help you make good “shortcuts” for life and ministry. As you follow God’s “shortcuts,” you will also be very glad.

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