Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Olympics: Making Every Effort

In the Winter Olympics, we are watching men and women making every effort to win a medal. This means the ultimate in mental and physical effort, regardless which event they are competing in. The Bible tells us several times to make every effort. This is not the same kind of “every effort” that we see in the athletes at the Olympic games.

How do we know? The difference is described in two portions of Scripture:
Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. (Luke 13:24)

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (Gal. 3:3)
In Luke we are to make every effort to enter. Those who “try” are not able to enter. In Galatians, we began by the Spirit, but cannot finish by human effort. It is foolishness! We can see from this that “every effort” is not human effort. This effort is a spiritual event, a grace and faith event. It is different from trying.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:2-3). Notice that complete humility and gentleness precede making every effort. Somehow complete humility and gentleness are necessary in order to maintain the unity of the Spirit. The result is peace, and this is not accomplished by human effort.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love" (2 Pet. 3-7).

The words in verses 3 and 4 that precede “make every effort” are God words: His divine power, His glory and goodness. The words that follow “make every effort” are the fruit of the Spirit. This “effort,” therefore, is not human effort.

"There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience" (Heb. 4:9-11). Rest is the result of this kind of effort. Believing and obeying the gospel is the means of entering into that rest.

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