Our efforts are so feeble

Published 2:36 pm Friday, September 28, 2018

After spreading some lime on ground that was notably dry, I decided to apply water to help it begin to dissolve.  I attached the sprinkler to the hose and the high priced liquid started to fall on the thirsty earth as the sprinkler arm moved back and forth.  This procedure went on for more than three hours until I was satisfied that I had put down what amounted to a brief shower on the small plot.  Some spots were watered relatively well, others not as much; like usual, it was an uneven watering process.  I did the best I could and with concern about the water bill, I figured I had best let that suffice for the time being.

Later in the day the sky darkened and shortly large raindrops started falling.  In just a little while nearly an inch of rain had fallen; it fell evenly, and it did not cost me a dime.  My efforts to water the soil were helpful, but not nearly as effective as what God provided. 

When it comes to experiencing a real change in our lives, we need to quickly remind ourselves that it is not something that we can achieve on our own.  Our efforts to do so are feeble.  We are reminded of this truth in 2 Peter 2:22:  “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud” (New International Version).  And in Jeremiah 13:23, the people who were rejecting God’s warning regarding the sinful route they had chosen, were challenged with these words of the Lord:  “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?  Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”  The Lord went on to declare to them that the evil they had become accustomed to was rooted in their broken relationship with Him:  “because you have forgotten Me and trusted in false gods” (verse 25).

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Years ago in the early days of our marriage, Gale and I raised hogs—not to sale, not to show, but for the table.  All of that lifestyle was foreign to her; I grew up with those kinds of activities, but she never experienced it before.  It was not long before she realized the reward of it and what good biscuits she could make using homegrown hog lard.  The only thing that improved the biscuits was a big slice of country cured ham inside them.  But regardless of how good the end result was, the hogs themselves had some rather negative characteristics.

We did not have a modern hog house with cement floors that could be washed.  Instead, we had a hog pen out in the back yard.  It was open to the weather except for maybe a few pieces of old tin in the corner where the animals could get out of the weather a bit.  So when it rained, the hog pen became sloppy muddy—but they loved it.  It was in their nature.  And when the rain water dried up, it was not unusual for them to turn over the watering trough so they had some mud to root in.

Everyone of us has a broken nature called sin.  We can try to cover it up, but we do not have the ability to fix it.  We can make some improvements in our actions, but we cannot transform our inner being.  Our efforts to achieve spiritual righteousness in the sight of God are feeble.  Indeed, they are futile.  In the face of that reality, God reminds us that He has made provision for us through Jesus Christ in Whom we can trust to change us on the inside and give us a new nature; His nature. 

Now is a good time to give up your feeble efforts to change yourself and put your faith in Him.  You will be forever pleased with what He does.