God Expects Effort

“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
Proverbs chapter two provides us with powerful verbs that show us how to pursue wisdom:

   •  “Receive”
   •  “Treasure”
   •  “Make ear attentive”
   •  “Call out”

(See Proverbs 2:1-5 for the full list.)

Pursuing wisdom leads us to take extraordinary measures to attain it. Once we see the value in wisdom, we will be willing to make any sacrifice to attain it. It requires much effort on our part. God does not ordinarily impart wisdom to His children automatically. We must pray for it (James 1:5) and pursue it (Proverbs 2:1-5). People pursue things they value, even though it may, in fact, be worthless. We need to value God’s will for our life and pursue wisdom. Once we do, we will spare no effort in attaining it.

People expend effort for a variety of reasons. An athlete wants to win a first place trophy and expends all effort to attain it. The young business recruit dreams of wealth and spares no effort in attaining. But God wants to shape our values. In fact, we know what we value by how much effort we put into it. Listen to the Apostle Paul:

“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable” (1 Corinthians 9:25).

Once again, the key is arriving at the right values. People work for what they value. As God shapes our values and we cooperate with Him, we will put forth much effort into attaining godly wisdom. Occasionally God provides something for which we put forth little effort. But ordinarily, He blesses and rewards according to our labor and effort. We cannot know much about God without putting in effort to learn the Bible. We will not get answers to prayer if we don’t pray much.

Ask God to grant you the wisdom to discern between lasting and temporary values. Ask Him for wisdom, strength and grace to vigorously seek God’s best for your life. He will reward you with wisdom according to your efforts. We all remember that occasional time in school when we scored a high grade without much effort. But we know that was the exception, not the rule. If we want the good things God wants us to have, we must expend the labor and effort to attain them.

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