In the summer or winter Olympics every two years, we watch
men and women making “every effort” to win a medal. Regardless of the event,
this means the ultimate in mental and physical effort.

The Bible tells us several times to make “every effort.”
This is not the same kind of “every effort” that occurred in the Olympic games.
How do we know?

The difference is described in two portions of Scripture:

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because
many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to” (Luke 13:24).

“Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are
you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3).

In Luke, we are to make every effort to enter. Those
who try are not able to enter. In Galatians, we began by the Spirit, but
cannot finish by human effort. It is foolishness! We see that every effort
is not human effort. It is not by trying. Every effort is a spiritual
event, a grace and faith event. It is different from trying.

Here are a few other expressions regarding every effort:

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with
one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through
the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2-3).

Notice that complete humility and gentleness precede making
every effort. Somehow, complete humility and gentleness is necessary in order
to maintain the unity of the Spirit. The result is peace. This is not
accomplished by human effort.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life
and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and
goodness. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith
goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to
self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness,
brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” (2 Peter 3-7).

The words in verses 3 and 4 that precede “make every effort”
are God words: His divine power, His glory and goodness, His very great and
precious promises, His divine nature. The words that follow “make every effort”
are fruit of the Spirit. This “effort” then, is not human effort.

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;
for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did
from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no
one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:9-11).

Rest is the result. Believing and obeying the gospel is the
means of entering into that rest. This is not human effort.

This post coordinates with today’s reading in the To
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