Putting forth great effort

Published 3:23 pm Friday, July 13, 2018

Some things do not just fall into our laps.  We have to put forth some effort to achieve them and sometimes that effort is intense, even painful.  But when what  is sought after becomes reality, the sense of accomplishment far outweighs the cost of the effort.

Little Raegan continues to learn new things and to experience more of the world that she lives in.  She is neither crawling nor walking yet, but she has found ways to propel herself around to get where she wants to go.  She is willing to put forth whatever effort is required to reach her goals. 

One of the things that apparently fascinates her at Papa and Nana’s house is the fan.  She works really hard to get her hands on it.  We have watched her roll across the floor trying with all her might to get to it.  It takes a lot of energy, but she makes the effort and, if left alone, she eventually gets there.

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If we would gain the same level of desire to reach higher spiritual goals in our walk with God as that little nine month old girl has to reach the things she wants to get her hands on, it would lead to a difference in our lives that would be beyond anything we could imagine.  Sadly, most do not have the willingness to reach beyond where they are right now.  That results in the lack of spiritual growth, the absence of spiritual enthusiasm, and the failure to achieve all that God intended for us in our lives as we serve Him.

As Paul, the writer of Ephesians in the New Testament, was instructing those to whom he was writing he sought to impress upon them the importance of maintaining strong unity among them.  He urged them to “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”  (Ephesians 4:3, New International Version).  The preceding verse contains several characteristics that followers of Christ should always be practicing in their lives to promote such unity:  “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (verse 2).

If we would be honest with ourselves, we would admit that humility, gentleness, patience, and even love do not always come easily; they often require some effort, adjustment, and change that we might rather do without.  Thankfully we are not alone in our character adjustment, for God has provided us with the help of the Holy Spirit to enable us to mature spiritually and become facilitators of unity rather than opponents of it.

My wife has spent all of her summer break from school nurturing her foot back to health after surgery several weeks ago.  She endured some considerable pain and limitations in mobility, but she put forth the effort to endure what was required in order to achieve the results that were desired:  toes that are straight and a foot that does not pound with pain.  She now knows in a fresh way the reward of committing to doing what is necessary at the moment to enjoy the reward that lies down the road.

It is a great reward when God’s people work together to reach goals that they really want.  Keeping unity strong should be a goal that we all, with God’s help, put forth the effort to enjoy.  Like Raegan working with all her might to reach what she is after, let us devote ourselves to putting forth “every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”