Desire and Effort

There is something about God that’s extremely difficult for us to wrap our brains around. But the Bible tells us it is true again and again.

Perhaps the reason it’s so hard for us to understand this truth is that it seems to go against everything else we know or have experienced. Typically, we have to work hard and earn what we get in life. Desire and effort play a huge role in this.

Ask anyone who is successful in his or her field of work. Or a married couple who have been married for many anniversaries. Or artists who excel in their chosen art. Ask any of these, and you know what you’ll hear from them?

Without desire and effort, you won’t get anywhere.

But in our relationship with God, it’s an entirely different proposition. A healthy, strong, faith-filled and faithful relationship with God has nothing to do with our human desire or effort, the Bible tells us.

Our relationship with God depends entirely on God. He is the initiator. He is the sustainer. As the author of the book of Hebrews puts it, Jesus is both the “pioneer and perfecter” of our faith.

The Bible states and restates it so many times, and in such a variety of expressions, and in so many places, it must be true. Otherwise the truth would not have been so frequently repeated and restated.

God’s mercy is the thing. Not your effort, or mine. It’s all about God’s grace. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts.

Notice carefully! There’s nothing there at all about us being at work on God’s heart!

Wrap your brain around it.

“It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy” (Romans 9:16, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Saturday, July 25, is Hosea 11:12 – 14:9, Romans 9:1-21 and Psalm 89:9-13.

Lord, thank you for your mercy and grace. By your Spirit’s power, help me to understand that my relationship to you, my forgiveness and my salvation completely depend on these — and by no means depend on my own desire or effort.

Header image based on "After 10km trail, a rest" by Douglas Scortegagna, CC By 2.0

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I'm married to my beautiful wife Julie and have five kids whose names all begin with the letter A. I'm a pastor at CrossWalk Church in Phoenix, AZ. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids, and my grandkids. Huge Arizona Cardinals fan! Reading, hiking, camping, travel, and fishing are my top 5 downtime pleasures.

One thought on “Desire and Effort”

  1. Our Bible reading for Saturday, July 25, is Hosea 11:12 – 14:9, Romans 9:1-21 and Psalm 89:9-13.

    It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

    Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. (‭Romans‬ ‭9‬:‭16, 18‬ NIV)

    The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it. (‭Psalm‬ ‭89‬:‭11‬ NIV)

    Heavenly Father, you are full of love and grace. You remind me that nothing but your will can save me. It’s all about my faith and love in your Son, the love you poured out for me. Father you control all things. Please remind me every day of your mercy, help me share the truth that brings me peace.

    ~Paul Montenieri


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