<<exertion, attempt>>

Because of sin God said life would be a struggle with hard effort required to make a living (Gen 3:16,17).  Similarity in the spiritual realm it requires persistent, diligent and faithful praying coupled with action to accomplish results and walk in His ways (Lk 11:5-11). While visible results from our efforts are desirable a growing relationship with Him should be a higher priority.

“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mk 16:20). God enhanced what they did; He didn’t work supernaturally while they did nothing, rather it was "done with the help of our God" as they prayed and did what they could (Neh 4:9, 6:16). "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain" (Ps 127:1). When we are doing what is ‘at our hand’ to do we can confidently ask Him to bless our labours. Although “it is not by our efforts but by His Spirit”, we should work as if it all depends on us, yet pray and trust as if everything all depends on God (Zech 4:6). We should be submited to God, making ourselves available as channels through whom He can flow to outwork His particular calling on our lives (Eph 2:10).

Effort must be put in to ensuring the basics are established and strengthened; this is paramount to sustaining long-term, successful living and ministry. Godly, wise choices must be continually made to remain ‘in tune’ to the Holy Spirit. Sustained motivation and

Am I working with God as a team?

consistent effort will bring results (Neh 4:6, 6:15; Lk 18:1-8).  In spite of the spiritual opposition there will come a time of breakthrough and desired outcome in what God has called us to, if we work at it with all our might. We need to stay flexible in our approach, adapting our strategy as best suits the prevailing conditions, yet holding uncompromisingly to our integrity and the specific call of God because He will hold us accountable for its fulfilment.

Big tasks need to be broken down into smaller, clearly defined, manageable portions. As these smaller measurable steps are addressed and completed, the sense of accomplishment will be an added incentive to maintain momentum to see the bigger challenge conquered and satisfactorily brought to a successful conclusion. Regularly review your activities to ensure your activity is not just busyness but is accomplishing your God given purpose. Make all things serve that purpose.

By our efforts we cannot gain access to heaven because they fall far short of God’s requirements, yet He does want to outwork His life through us (Isa 64:6; Eph 2:8,9,20; Tit 2:14). Even Jesus said, “I can
of my own self do nothing” (Jn 5:30). He was not relying on His own strength or ability, rather relying

Enlist divine assistance

on being empowered from heaven.  Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

There will be times of total exhaustion, questioning ‘Is it worth the struggle?’ Don’t give up, victory may be just around the corner. Receive ministry and encouragement from others when feeling emotionally drained as well as bearing the burdens of others when they are discouraged. We are to pray for each other understanding we are in this together (Gal 6:2; Jas 5:16). Although Satan is more powerful than we are, God is vastly more powerful than Satan is. Victory is primarily obtained not by our effort but by our submitting to God’s authority.

Am I putting in the effort to strengthen my marriage, relationships with others and especially with God? No interactions with other humans, or even with our heavenly Father, progresses favourably unless there is intentional applying of wise conduct principles learned from His Word.

    See also: action/activity, being and doing, burn-out, busy, call/calling, channel, consistent, co-operation, effective/efficient, employment, give-up, laziness, motive/motivation, persevere, rest, teamwork, vessel, work.