Trying Harder Isn’t Always the Answer

James 1:3 Testing your faith produces steadfastness

We want life to be easy. It’s human nature to avoid pain and conflict. The American way is to reduce hassle and maximize comfort, usually by purchasing something on a late night infomercial. Sorry folks, consumerism won’t solve all your problems.

Contrary to the prosperity gospel message, God utilizes hardship to teach us.

James 1:2-5 (ESV)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

The Greek word for trials is peirsasmos, which can be translated as challenging circumstances. Maybe the budget is tight and you are staring at a stack of bills. Could be that you are were overlooked for advancement at work, conflict in relationships, failing health…the list goes on and on.

Gideon’s Lesson About Resources

We tend to think that having resources is God’s will for our life to tackle trials. A huge stack of money in the bank for paying bills or friends to help us when we get stuck in a jam must surely be what the Lord wants for me.

In Gideon’s case the commodity he valued most was a large army. War with Midian was coming and everything was looking good, until God said to downsize the army. That’s right, God wanted Gideon to cut his force down to 300 soldiers.

Try taking this advice to the Pentagon and see what happens. Man’s wisdom would never conclude that having less soldiers in an open battlefield would be advantageous. God has a plan behind this scheme.

Judges 7:2 (NIV)

The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’

The goal of difficulties is not to stir us up into a panic to try harder. The hardships we face teach us that God is the deliverer. We can’t roll up our sleeves and save ourselves. The perseverance that grows in us is trust in God. With every trial we see that God is faithful. He is trustworthy. Trial after trial Christ reminds us that He really is the Good Shepherd. In Christ we are saved and secure by His work on the cross.

Gideon saw that trusting in the Lord to provide victory was much better than trusting in the size of Israel’s army.

Judges 7:22 (NIV)

When the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords.

The might of the Lord came through for Israel and Gideon. Whatever you are going through, stop, take a deep breath and cry out to the Lord. In every trial He is our hope.

1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

6 thoughts on “Trying Harder Isn’t Always the Answer

  1. ON BEING AFEARED

    ◇ – Diamond Hard – ◇

    In My Experience there ARE Two Types of People in the Context of Fear; those who treat Fear as a Problem and Pretend to be Fearless and those who Accept that We ALL Feel Fear and who Perceive Fear as a Pathway to Solutions…it’s Crystal Clear Clarity that I Really Don’t Have Time for Problem Promoters, COMPLAINANTS!!! Seeking Excuses and ALL The Time in The World for Solution Seekers, THINKERS!!! Embracing Fear as an Assisting Friend; so I Invite You ALL to Consider These Various Expansions of The Acronym F.E.A.R then please Share Your THOUGHTS!!! with ALL of Us:

    ◇ False Evidence Appearing Real
    ◇ Friendly Emotive Alert Response
    ◇ Firm Efficient Assertive ReAction

    …it’s also Crystal Clear Clarity that I AM Successful because I AM Driven by Fear of Failure; a Very Powerful Motivation…yet I Still Fail but it doesn’t matter; especially because of Inspirational People like this Lady (May She R.I.P)

    http://www.susanjeffers.com – Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

    ◇ – Diamond Hard – ◇

    …◇◇◇…

    Like

    1. Thank you for stopping by Yernasia. Largely the point of this post was to promote trust in God instead of glorifying problems and dwelling in fear. On that point I agree with you.

      Yes, there are times when trials become my focus instead of Christ. Yet in all my unbelief God is faithful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written post. It hurts the Lord to watch us suffer. Suffering wasn’t part of the original plan, at least that’s my take on it. But the Lord blessed us with free will. He could have made us all “Stepford Wives” but He wanted to be genuinely loved by us. Our free will allowed sin to creep in and we’ve suffered ever since. Sometimes the Lord intervenes and removes the suffering all together. Sometimes He allows us to suffer, sometimes terribly, while He holds our hands. Those of us who are Christian know we are never alone because we have felt His presence when we were the most vulnerable.
    Thank you for the post.
    –Pam

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So true! Especially love those last couple sentences. As I read the Psalms lately, I’ve noticed how David really and truly CRIES OUT to God in his despair; it makes me think that we need to be a lot more bold. But we just try to fix our own problems instead…when we need to learn to lean into Jesus for strength. Suffering can produce stronger faith if we would do that instead of just trying harder.

    Liked by 1 person

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