I’ve been thinking a lot lately about one little word: try.
Christians should be those who are willing to try things for God’s glory. We should be those who don’t quit trying. The Bible calls us to be persistent, to not give up following Christ, praying, hoping, doing good, giving, loving, forgiving, working, and sharing the gospel. We are to persist because God himself is our helper and he has created good works for us to walk in.
God doesn’t call us to be successful. He only calls us to be faithful.
Which means to try. The Master rebuked the servant he’d given one talent to for burying it – for not trying. He commended the others because they took their talents and went out and tried to do something with them.
A fool says, “I can’t;” a wise man says, “I’ll try.” –Charles Spurgeon, Salt Cellars
There are at least 3 reasons we don’t try things – fear, unbelief and laziness.
Sometimes we fear we’ll fail. Or we fear what others may think. We fear going to a brother who is offended at us because of the discomfort we’ll experience, so we put it off again and again. We fear being evaluated for our efforts, so it’s easier to not do things. I battle this, even with songwriting, which I’ve done for many years. I hesitate to send songs for critique at times because I fear that the guys I send it to won’t like them.
The only way to overcome your fears is to “do the thing you fear,” as Emerson wrote, “and the death of fear is certain.” -Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog.
What great advice. Ask yourself, what is it you most fear? Is it letting your pastor know an area you’d like to serve? Is it stepping out in a spiritual gift? Going to a sister and asking forgiveness? Praying out loud in front of others? Ask God for grace to tackle that fear and attack it at your next opportunity.
At other times we don’t try because of unbelief.
We don’t pray because we don’t think anything will happen. We quit trying with our children because we don’t think anything will change. We don’t believe the gospel is powerful. Or that God will use us.
“Satan strikes either at the root of faith or at the root of diligence.” – John Livingstone in David MacIntyre, The Hidden Life of Prayer
Prayer is a particular area we’re tempted not to try.
We’re tempted not to pray for God to heal because we prayed for someone once and they weren’t healed. We’re tempted not to pray because we don’t believe God hears us or that our prayers are effective. We’re tempted not to pray because we have to wait for an answer. Yet we should never quit praying even if we have to wait.
“To wait is not merely to remain impassive. It is to expect – to look for with patience, and also with submission. It is to long for, but not impatiently; to look for, but not to fret at the delay; to watch for, but not restlessly; to feel that if He does not come we will acquiesce, and yet to refuse to let the mind acquiesce in the feeling that He will not come.” -MacIntyre
In other words, keep praying. Keep expecting. Keep asking Jesus to save your children. Keep asking him to heal you. Keep asking your Father to provide. Keep asking him to help you in that class. Keep asking for joy. Keep asking for strength to serve. Keep asking for opportunities to share the gospel. Keep trying!
I like these 2 quotes by Brian Tracy in Eat That Frog:
Take action on your plan immediately. Do something. Do anything. An average plan vigorously executed is far better than a brilliant plan on which nothing is done. For you to achieve any kind of success, execution is everything.
Wayne Gretzky, the great hockey player, once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
So what shots are you going to take for God today?