I remember running into one of the elders from my church and telling him that God had given me insight into the difference between earning something or efforting it. The tricky part is keeping them separate. We tend to slip back
into earning something as our human nature default position.
We live in a world that earns every thing. We have trouble accepting unconditional love and giving it. Ephesians 2:8, 9 say this: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” You can’t earn anything from God. It’s all a gift; starting with our salvation.
Here is the question. Can you effort things. Do we have any control of making God’s grace flow more towards us. I believe we do. James 2:14 says: “Faith Without Works Is Dead.” Works may be better stated as action. Faith without action on our part is dead. If I have a life verse it would have to be Jeremiah 29:11-13. It says: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” The New Testament counterpart to this Old Testament Verse is Matthew 6:33.
On April 12th, 2011, I surrendered everything to the Lord. I told him that I would seek him with all my heart for the rest of my life. It took a five and a half year trial of fire to get me to this point. It sounds like it would be easy to just surrender everything, but it wasn’t. There is so much human resistance there. It was like one layer would peel off and there would be another and another. On that day, everything begin to change. I had been asking God to open up the Book of Acts to me, and revelation started to come to me. It was slowly at first, but then began to build and flow. A week later, I received divine healing. I really believe that God would not have trusted me with this revelation if I hadn’t surrendered all to him. I would have misused it in some sort of prideful way. Now it did take 1 ½ years more to get this tuned and fine tuned, and I will be growing in this knowledge through my relationship with Jesus and his Word.
I had to seek God with all my heart. This required effort. I had to change many things in my life. This required effort. At times, I would get prideful thoughts; this was me defaulting back to that earning position. I overcome this as much as a person can. This is something that each of us has to face each day. We must deny ourselves, and humbly just place our faith and God, and then through our efforts we received the Word of God. In other words, I don’t deserve anything; it’s a gift, but God expects me to go after it. Ray Comfort, Way of the Master, said once that one of the reasons people give for not witnessing is they just don’t know what to say. He said that they haven’t made the effort to qualify themselves. I think he was right. We need to qualify ourselves in Christ. Let me leave you with this scripture. II Timothy 2”15 says “present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”