Tuesday, May 30, 2017

great effort or great faith...opposites?

The question isn't whether diligent effort brings great results; it is what drives our effort i.e. why do we act. Do we act for God's honor or our own? 

Great results never comes without great effort...ever, regardless of the motive.

*Truly great results (i.e. God honoring) is not a question of effort, but whether those efforts are driven "by the flesh" or "by the Spirit." What determines if results are *truly great is if and when they are driven by the Spirit. 

Being a believer does not mean we are to be passive in general but passive only in independent effort  i.e. in efforts driven "by the flesh."

A desire to give great honor to God is the motive for *truly great efforts. These efforts are driven by the Spirit and never happen without great humility and trust in God. 

Great humility and trust produces *truly great effort which produces great results/fruit. This is to operate "by the Spirit." 

We are to be active and fruitful. Active in our trust, dependence and obedience to God which always results in fruit. As scripture says, "the just shall live by faith." Great faith always results in great effort/action/obedience.

But it all must start with God and driven by him (i.e. in and by the Spirit). This involves who God is for us. How? The more we behold the love of God (the only source of life, love and all things), the greater our trust and dependence on God grows. The greater our trust the greater our obedience. The greater our obedience (action), the greater the results. 

2Co 9:6  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 

John 15:8  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 

John 15:16  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 

Psa 127:1  ... Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. 

John 14:15  "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 

John 14:21  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." 

John 15:10  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 

1Jn 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 

1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 

2Jn 1:6  And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. 

For a fuller discussion of what it means to live by the Spirit or by the flesh click here.


*I am using "truly" great in contrast to just hard work i.e. there is hard work and than there is hard work driven by trust in God. By "truly" great effort I mean the later. 

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Grace to you
Jim Deal