In my younger days, there was a board game called “Can’t Stop,” in which the object was to throw dice and to try to make your way to the tops of numbered columns (from 2 to 12) on a board shaped like a stop sign. You could only have three active columns at a time, and the winner was the first to claim three columns in their color. The catch was that you could stop at any time and save your progress, as it were, but if you threw the dice and they did not add up to any of the numbers you were trying for, any progress you had made would be lost.
The idea here of temptation is obvious – do you give into temptation and press your luck, or do you stop with what you have? But the columns are not of equal length in this game – the “7” column is much longer than either the “2” or “12” columns, because 7 is the easiest roll to make on two dice, while 2 and 12 are the hardest. If you were new to the game, you might see the short columns and think, “Oh, I only have to do this three times. I have to get many more 7’s to win that column. I’ll stick with the short ones.” That player would soon learn that what seemed to be the easier course is actually the harder one, and vice versa.
It’s natural for us as humans to try to find the easier way to do things, but we must be careful and, to use a cliché, not judge a book by its cover. It’s the same way with following Christ. As Christians, we may look for the easy way out and not keep in mind that being a Christian – that is, following Christ – is not easy. Discernment takes time and discipline, but if we make a conscious effort, the rewards will be greater than we could even imagine.