God Doesn’t Ask Us To Try

This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one word prompt.  The prompt today is “try.”

God doesn't ask us to try

Sometimes I think I try too hard:

  • Try to get to bed earlier
  • Try to eat healthily
  • Try to exercise
  • Try to stay positive
  • Try to improve writing
  • Try to consider others
  • Try to be disciplined about prayer and Bible reading
  • Try to deepen friendships with people in church
  • Try to write more music
  • Try to learn guitar
  • Try to help a friend in need
  • Try to deal better with anxiety
  • Try to be patient
  • Try to make space to listen to God
  • Try to take time to switch off and have fun

It makes me feel tired just typing this!

It’s good to have goals, and none of the things I am trying to do are bad but, as I type this list, I’m reminded that God never asks us to try.

Trying makes it about me and my effort.  It piles on the pressure and squeezes out grace as well-intentioned goals turn into burdens and worthy aims become impossible standards.

God doesn’t ask us to try, but to abide in him.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5 NLT)

This brings me back to the truth.  Apart from God I can do nothing.  It’s dangerous to slip into thinking that it’s all about what my efforts can achieve.

I think of my pastor and the impression he does of a branch straining and striving to produce a grape.  It’s hilarious, but all too often it is the reality of my life.

On the other hand, if I stay joined to the vine, fruit happens- not by effort or striving, but by his power flowing through me- and that fruit is better than anything I could possibly achieve by trying.

“The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

 

 

 

 

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30 thoughts on “God Doesn’t Ask Us To Try

  1. Ha! We’ve both picked grapevines for our images. I’ve been “trying” to steward my mother’s grapevines for a better harvest. FMF#16.

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    1. Thanks, Carlene. There certainly are things we can do to create favourable conditions for a good harvest, but I need to remind myself that it is God who ultimately produces the fruit.

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  2. Good reminders here! I love that chapter of the Bible. There is definitely a mystery to the abiding and then naturally producing. It’s so different than what we think naturally.
    Have a great weekend 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Somer. Yes, there is something counter-intuitive about abiding being the thing that produces the fruit rather than our efforts. Hope you have a great weekend too!

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  3. Thank you for reminding me of this this morning as I am struggling with some things and I have had to stop trying and just place it in Gods hands and to “Fully Rely On Him. As I know one door will not close without another opening and I am believing in that this morning. Have a Blessed morning.

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    1. Thanks, I’m glad it was helpful. It’s not always easy to hand things over to God instead of trying to deal with it ourselves, but it is important to trust him. Praying that you’re able to do that in your situation today.

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  4. Thank you for this reminder! I think the key thing is to stay joined to the vine. I am prone to wander without even realizing that I have let go of His hand. I need to be more focused on my steps and repent as soon as I realize that I am wandering. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I agree, it is very easy to wander off without even realising. It is important to learn to be aware of it so we can turn back. Hope you have a great weekend too.

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  5. The image of your pastor straining to make a grape made me laugh. But what a great image to remind of us that we can’t ‘try’ ourselves into being. It’s a natural growing when in the vine. Amen to that!

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    1. It’s so funny- he does it very well and it has certainly made me remember the point he was trying to make! Much better to stay joined to the vine and let God produce the fruit!

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  6. What a great analogy to stay connected to the vine. Your post reminds me of Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When we try so hard to do everything ourselves, the burden is too much to carry. But his yoke is easy and burden is light if we stop trying so hard. Thank you for your thoughts!

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  7. Fantastic, Lesley. For me, it’s so easy to slip into striving (I almost said “trying!”) to do things in my own strength. The deeply-rooted, very human, subconscious belief that I have earn salvation and be perfect for God seeps through and I have to learn about grace all over again. I’m glad that He doesn’t give up on me!

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