I Timothy 4:8-10 (AMP) For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is of value in everything and in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come. This is a faithful and trustworthy saying worthy of full acceptance and approval. It is for this that we labor and strive [often called to account], because we have fixed our [confident] hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe [in Him, recognize Him as the Son of God, and accept Him as Savior and Lord].
I decided to take a timeout. That’s right I packed up some clothes heading to my parent’s house for the weekend. I love being a wife, mom and grandmother more than words can every express. I also like being an employee with a wonderful employer that God has blessed me with. I am a leader in a growing ministry that I also love serving in. I have a good life. However, I noticed that I was slowing fizzling out. The enemy comes in with lies that our best is not good enough. Our hard work unnoticed. When thriving becomes striving – it is time to take a step back. The seed is in the field. The season is working its due diligence. The productivity of the harvest not yet evident. It is in the waiting that striving may become particularly exhausting. Running in circles because the promise hasn’t arrived yet like I really have any control over God’s Timing and His Way of doing things. I know that I am not alone. Not everyone has the ability to take such a step back and timeout as I have done. So maybe just a few moments in His Presence may allow you to gain some much needed perspective…
Striving. The word is written in my journal three days in a row. Striving means to exert oneself vigorously or simply to try hard. To make strenuous efforts toward any goal or aspiration. To content in opposition, battle or conflict. To complete. To struggle in opposition or resistance. To rival. Reading these words, I relate. Each meaning has a physical, mental and spiritual component all woven into it. The striving in our life is evident. It impacts us a variety of ways. However, God did not create us to strive but to thrive. The secret to such a life is to put our energy in the right pursuit.
For physical training is of some value, but godliness (spiritual training) is of value in everything and in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.
I Corinthians 9:26 (AMP) Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing].
To live a life of love, peace and joy is God’s Plan for each one of us. It is not the absence of problems but His Presence in us that makes the difference. However, it is only natural to assume full responsibility of our burdens and cares. To think that somehow it is in our energetic endeavors that somehow godliness is achieved. Godliness is the most valuable trait to be considered in our pursuit of the Kingdom and all it has to offer. To somehow step out of the reality of life and enter the realm of hope. It is a fight to the finish with our flesh to fully embrace and engage with faith in all things not just some things.
How do I stop striving? Well, maybe it is not in the striving itself but what I strive for that the answer lies. During my personal quiet time today, the Lord dropped a Truth bomb or two in my spirit. What if I am doing more than praying? Controlling more than releasing? Remaining in the past when I am to move into the future? The Lord never grows weak or weary. He is a constant source of energy for those who depend fully on Him. Striving doesn’t produce exhaustion in the godly. It produces promises.
It is for this that we labor and strive [often called to account], because we have fixed our [confident] hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe [in Him, recognize Him as the Son of God, and accept Him as Savior and Lord].
Psalm 127:1-2 (AMP) Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise early, to retire late, to eat the bread of anxious labors—for He gives [blessings] to His beloved even in his sleep.
We can do good things. People can completely deplete all energy and resources striving to be a good person and live a good life and be hugely successful physically and in all worldly endeavors. However to find fulfillment and godly satisfaction that seeps into your soul – God is required. To fully experience the fruitfulness of faith found in hope it must be the essence of our striving. To seek first the Kingdom of God which is strictly a spiritual pursuit that finds its way into our natural and emotions being. I must strive first for the Kingdom which is accessed by faith alone. To work at completely connecting with the Christ inside of me. To lean fully on His Beauty and Grace allowing it be reflected as the Light of my life for others to see. It is a backseat to the Savior. Less of me and more of Him. To strive for this life is the only kind of striving that produces proper results.
Are you anxious? Worried? Stressed? Sick? Broken? Exhausted? Overwrought? Striving may yield something but never the soothing peace that only our relationship with Jesus Christ can offer. We must learn to strive for the things of God in the way He provides which is not working for it but rather writhing in His Grace and scooping up His Mercy to live in His Peace. I need Jesus. I think I need a lot of other things and must work hard for them but in reality – He is all I must strive for to meet every need.
Matthew 11:28-30 (AMP) “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”