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How Hard Are You Trying?

How Hard Are You Trying?

      As we endeavor to do something, the determination shown and the energy put forth is in direct correlation to how much we want whatever it is.  When someone does not try very hard, it is likely that they either don’t want, or figure they cannot do or attain to something.   Another reason some don’t put forth the necessary effort into achieving something is that they think it will be given them, even though they have not exerted themselves to reach the goal.  

     Every “soul” should have going to heaven as a goal.   Not all seem to have this “goal” as many feel that serving God as God has put forth in His Word is too “restrictive”. Galatians 5:1 tells us that the Law of God in the N. T. age is not restrictive, but liberating.  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.   Those who do not understand this would rather live the life they wish to live and then “hope” that God will be merciful to them in the end.  

    In short, they are not trying very hard to go to heaven. On the other hand, James 1:25 informs that those who understand and begin and continue to put forth the “effort” God requires can look forward to an eternal blessing.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  Those who are counting on leniency on the part of God after this life are going to be sadly disappointed.  They will then wish they had tried hard to obey God and remain faithful until death.    

     At that point, it will be too late.   The time for doing what God requires of us is in this life.   This was well known even in the O.T. times when Israel was the chosen people of God.  In Ecclesiastes 9:10, the preacher was directed by the Spirit to tell them this fact.  Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.  This same thing is still true today in the New Testament age as Paul wrote in 2Corinthians 6:2.  The Spirit had Paul tell these brethren that “now” was the time to put forth the effort to be saved.    (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

    Many also don’t realize that we have a part in our salvation. The Salvation that God has offered to man is not something God just “showers” upon us.  If that were the case all would be saved.  2Peter 3:9 informs us that it is the Will of God for people to be saved. God wants all to repent and come to Him.   The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.   But we are also told in Acts 10:34-35 when God had Peter preach the gospel to the Gentiles, the Spirit had Peter proclaim that God is not a respecter of persons, and also told who would be accepted of God.    Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.   “Worketh” sounds like “putting forth effort” to me. 

       We have to “work out our own salvation” as Philippians 2:12 told those folks in that day.  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.   We are to have absolute respect for God and His Word (fear), and all should tremble at the thought that we might not do as God says, and then be rejected at that day.   For those who do not try hard, or try at all, there awaits eternal destruction.  This is plainly shown in 2Thessalonians 1:8-9.   In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

      How hard are you trying?   If you have not begun, you’re not trying at all. The power to become God’s child is yours according to John 1:12, and the way is given in verse 13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.   The “birth” is explained by Jesus in John 3:5 as Jesus spoke with Nicodemus.   Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.   The kingdom is the church.   One must be “born” into it by obedience, which includes baptism for the remission of sins. 

     The time to start is now!  Then we must continue to put forth the effort to remain in a proper covenant relation with God.  As Paul wrote Timothy:  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life . . . (1Timothy 6:12)     Begin today! – Obey the gospel – then remain faithful to God and His Word till the end of your life.   If you love God and want to be with Him forever, you will try hard.        Your eternity depends upon it.  

            Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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