The gospel of Try Harder
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Yesterday was the second week of our church’s soccer league, and the games were highly competitive but played in a great spirit. Our halftime devotional had some of the players and coaches trying to kick the ball into a 6 foot goal from distances of 30, 45, and 90 feet. As you might imagine no body was fully successful. They all fell short (even though one young man came amazingly close, putting the first two in and seeing the third one bounce off the side bar on the goal).
The crowd cheered each participant on and even groaned in disbelief when the final ball bounced off the side bar from 90 feet. The Bible tells us in the book of Hebrews that we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses”, and that these witnesses are cheering us on. Because of that we should throw off the sins that so easily entangle us and that weigh us down.” We ought to throw them off so that we can fully follow Jesus. We ought to throw them off so that we can live life God’s way and so that we can run the race with endurance.
Even though we have the crowd cheering us on however we don’t live life perfectly do we? In fact we all “sin and fall short of the glory of God.” We all stumble and tumble and fall. We all make mistakes. Sometimes when our mistakes add up we feel like things are hopeless and we get discouraged but the good news is that God is still working on us. The Bible says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.” In other words God is working on us, He is working daily to transform us. Which means that even in the severity of our sins and our mistakes He does not give up on us. He is there to pick us up when we fall. He is there to dust us off and to give us second chances. He is faithful, even when we are not.
And that’s good news, isn’t it? To know that when we fall God is there to pick us up and put us on the right path again. The Bible says, “the righteous may fall seven times but each time they get up.” God picks us up, He lifts us out of the pit. He sets our feet back on the path.
Many times when we stumble we think the answer is well I’ll just try harder. But the reality is we still can’t do it if we are trying harder only in our own strength. We have to look to someone much greater than ourselves, and that someone is Jesus. He is the great witness who is cheering us on as we run the race. He is the great witness who loves us, He is the one who picks us up, He is the one that gives us wisdom and direction.
We can try harder but if that’s all we are doing we will fall harder. For us to run the race set before us, we must look to Jesus, the author and finisher or our faith, and trust in Him. We must be transformed by His Spirit, knowing that He is the one working within us. He wants us to succeed, He wants us to live life the right way, He wants us to live to glorify Him, and He empowers us to do so.
The gospel of Try Harder