Effort

Effort comes in various sizes from little to medium to large to maximum. 
Effort costs something.  Supplies of energy or brain power or will power need to match the size of the effort put before us.

To get another week started takes effort on our part.  If the weekend went well and we were faithful to rest, worship, and have some fun, the amount of effort it takes to get back to work may be small and routine.  If the weekend was more demanding than usual with extra events and maybe some long distance travel, Monday morning may take a much larger effort.  In either case, those who can shut off the alarm and turn on the energy on Monday morning will have a better week than those who spend much of the day recovering from the weekend.

For the Christ-follower, effort has a strange companion—dependency. 
This is far from the negative dependency of drugs or alcohol.  This dependency is a wonderful companionship with the Holy Spirit.   At the last supper, Jesus told the disciples wonderful things about their coming new relationship with the Holy Spirit.

  • Under the Old Covenant believers had the Holy Spirit with them when they were given specific tasks to do for God, but there was no abiding presence of the Holy Spirit because full atonement had not been made for the sins of people.
  • Under the New Covenant forgiveness of sin was real and complete because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  The human vessel could be truly cleansed from sin and fit to be the habitation of God by His Spirit.  The Holy Spirit would take us residence in them instead of just being with them.

Jesus called the Spirit by a particular name, the paraclete, meaning literally, “the one who comes beside.”

parakletos
“called to one’s side,” i. e., to one’s aid, is primarily a verbal adjective, and suggests the capability or adaptability for giving aid

The Holy Spirit is our Helper, our Comforter.  He adds supernatural ability to our human effort.  We work and He works with us.  Our efforts are often located in the physical and mental realms—we work hard and think hard and believe hard with all our humanity.  The Comforter (the paraclete) comes along side to add His power to complete the task.  The Spirit is at work when we are at work.  He works in the material world and in the spirit realm, too.

By faith we choose to depend on the power of the Spirit. 
We never want to be listed with the “foolish Galatians” who thought they could finish in the power of their effort what they had begun in the Spirit.  Paul said they had been bewitched to believe such nonsense. Paul reminded the Corinthians that he deliberately chose not to depend on his considerable gifts but on the power and demonstration of the Spirit.

As this week starts, bring your “A-game,” as the saying goes.

  • Match your resources to the effort required for the job.
  • Work “smarter not harder.”
  • Do your work as unto the Lord and not unto men.
  • Learn to lean on the paraclete, the Holy Spirit who lives inside you and works alongside you in every task.

Your effort and God’s power will make this a meaningful week.

Scriptures:
John 14:15-18; 25-27
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. … But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 16:6-15
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. … when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.
Galatians 3:3-4
Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 2:1
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.   For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
Colossians 1:29; 3:23-24
To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
.
Prayer:
Lord Jesus, You are my strength, my endurance. I will give my best to the work today, fully expecting You to come to my aid. You will make my work better, my efforts somehow charged with the power of the Spirit. My work will be a compound substance consisting of earth and heave, the human with the divine. I hold no delusion that I can do this work along; I hold a promise that You will be with me in every effort. For Your Kingdom, Lord. Amen.

Song:
Give of Your Best to the Master
Words: Howard B. Grose; Music: Charlotte Alington (Claribel)

1. Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor
Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example,
Dauntless was He, young and brave;
Give Him your loyal devotion;
Give Him the best that you have.

Refrain:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Clad in salvation’s full armor,
Join in the battle for truth.

2. Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.

Refrain

3. Give of your best to the Master;
Naught else is worthy His love;
He gave Himself for your ransom,
Gave up His glory above.
Laid down His life without murmur,
You from sin’s ruin to save;
Give Him your heart’s adoration;
Give Him the best that you have.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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