The importance of human effort

In this race, Christians are to relentlessly put forth effort.

Nothing happens is this world that does not take effort. History, until our present time, has been shaped and molded by the efforts of men and women of both renown and obscurity.

The United States of America was founded on the strength of those who were willing to rebel against Great Britain. The status of minorities in America has progressed because of the labor of abolitionists, civil and human rights advocates that span hundreds of years.

God’s very own nature is that of effort. It took effort for God to create the heavens and the earth. It took effort for God to deliver the children of Israel from under the thumb of the Egyptians.

Certainly, God put forth effort in sending his Son as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  He used this effort to climb on the cross, die for our sins, and raise himself on the third day that we might be partakers in the life He has made available.

With God’s nature being that of effort, we should acknowledge that we were created in His image. Genesis 1:27-28 states:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

In creating humankind, God gave instructions. Those instructions were an echo of what God Himself had been doing up until creating man—creating and subduing.

Essentially, what God was to the universe was what humanity was intended to be to the earth. Consequently, Psalm 115:16 says, “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind.”

The creation story, then, details something that is quite interesting. Genesis 2:4-5 reads:

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground.

The Lord literally did not allow the earth to yield any plants or greenery until there was someone to take care of it! Man was created to be a caretaker of the earth.

The Bible lets us know that it was not until the creation of man that God actually planted the Garden of Eden. (Once again, God shows us His effort in creation.) Genesis 2:15 records, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

Humankind was created to work. Much of the same, Christians have a special working role in God’s creation. Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

In receiving God’s gift of grace, we now come into partnership with the Lord Jesus Christ to enact His will on the earth. Much like the men God used to write the Scriptures, we are God’s workmanship, and he enables us to do his will by his Spirit.

Philippians 2:13 posits, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

Even in building for God’s Kingdom, the word declares, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Corinthians 4:20). Showing Christ’s love requires that we do so not “with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

It is no secret that God wants his Church to understand the concept of putting forth effort. Effort is apart of God’s divine nature, and He wants his sons and daughters to be a reflection of that. Effectually, Colossians 3:23-24 states:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Though believers are privileged to be connected to the universe’s greatest power, this does not negate the principle of hard work. If anything, Christians should be the hardest working people because we have an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).

Additionally, Kingdom principles require that the believer puts forth some sort of effort—God is not going to do everything for you!

Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

If one does not ask, it will not be given. Moreover, the door will not be opened unless we first knock.

This point is made painstakingly clear in James 4:2b, stating, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Our unwillingness to ask is what hinders us from possessing what God already has in store for us.

There is a reason that the word instructs us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17/KJV). God rewards diligence, as Hebrews 11:6 declares, “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

For this reason, Proverbs 21:5 assures the believer, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

Though it may not be biblical, the saying “God helps those who help themselves” is quite true. The Scriptures are stockpiled with evidence that support this fact. More plainly, though, Proverbs 13:4 says, “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”

Besides the Scriptures telling us, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10), there is one critical item about human effort.  It actually takes effort on our part to get saved.

Romans 10:9-10 tells us:

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Until one actually confesses Jesus as Lord and opens his heart to Christ, then one is not actually saved. Think about it. We all at some point had to put forth this effort in entering a relationship with Jesus.

No matter what effort we put forth, though, God is always doing “exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ever ask or even think” (Ephesians 3:20).


~ by christianballenger on July 27, 2011.

2 Responses to “The importance of human effort”

  1. To Christian Ballenger;

    I would like your permission to re-post your article on ‘ the importance of human effort’ on my own website. I will credit it to you.

    Thank you;

    John ben Wilhelm

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