Strive by Grace, Rest in Grace
“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more." - 1 Thessalonians 4:1
Yoga is a fitness phenomenon that everyone seems to either do themselves or knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who tried it once. If you’ve ever tried it, you know that, although it may look painless enough, it is HARD! It takes immense strength and balance to be effective. You must try and find that ever-delicate balance of grace and strength. The Bible paints a similar picture when it comes to our “efforts” spiritually. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 that He would “give us rest” when we come to Him. However, Paul says in Philippians 2:12-13 to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” So are we not to work and simply rest? Or are we to strive and work out our own salvation? The answer is YES. There is an ever-delicate balance between resting in God’s grace and striving by God’s grace. It’s His power in us working out and becoming evident in our lives. A “spiritually lazy” Christian is an oxy-moron. As we abide in Christ, His life will be pressed out through us, and we will strive by the grace of God in us. That is what Paul is exhorting the Thessalonians to do in our passage as well.
Taking an honest evaluation of your walk with Jesus: are you not striving at all, striving in your own strength, or striving by God’s grace? Take some time to talk to God about this.