The Line Between Faith and Effort

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Faith, Leadership, Personal

This is something I really struggle with. It influences a lot of what I write. Here’s the two truths I wrestle between.

1. Nothing can limit God from accomplishing what He wants to accomplish.

2. God uses me to accomplish his will and I am a limited, fractured person.

I have book after book on my shelf to increase my leadership abilities. I read blogs. I practice what I preach to the best of my ability. Here’s what I’ve experienced: My mistakes injure people. Sometimes, I make a poor choices. Or I don’t cast vision clear enough. I say something I shouldn’t. I don’t say something I should. It hurts people and it hurts my ministry.

I’ve watched other pastors make poor choices. Some make really bad choices. Sometimes, it costs them relationships. Other times, they’ve it costs them their church. The people they hurt sometimes leave the church. In some cases, they walk away from their faith. What we do matters!

God chooses to work through us. And we’re messed up. We are not a perfect system. That’s why I’m so grateful for grace! God loves me despite my fractures, with my weaknesses. He loves and forgives fully and continually.

But he doesn’t prevent me from not living up to my potential. It hinders me, those I lead and those we’re trying to reach when I fail. I race against the clock to improve. The lives I interact with are at stake. They pay for my mistakes.

And yet, God is not limited by me. He’s the creator of the universe. He caused all things to be, and be good. He is the one who draws all people to himself. His love for people goes beyond my failures. He makes sure everyone has an opportunity to choose him in the context of their lives.

God‘s not limited by me. But He uses me, a limited person.

I struggle in the balance. I pursue grace with all I am, because I need it as much or more than anyone. I put my faith in him alone, and pray as though it all depends on him. Then I work like it all depends on me.

Where those lines blur is where I struggle most. Am I trying too hard and not trusting enough? Am I not learning fast enough? He has done so much for me. I want to do so much for him.

How about you? How do you manage the line between faith and effort?

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  1. Lisa says:

    None of us are perfect, not our church family, Sunday School teachers, Deacons or our Pastors. Until people accept that and truly live the life that says we’re all saved by grace, there will always be the feeling of this struggle. There is a reason for everything and God knows what that is. If you’re doing your best to learn, lead, contribute and teach, that’s all that is asked of you. How others react or behave is their issue to deal with, between them and God. If someone leaves a church because of something a leader or Pastor has done, them perhaps it wasn’t the right place for them to begin with. If someone’s faith comes into question, them maybe they never truly had it. All we can do is continue to pray for those people and make sure they know we love them and want them to come back. We all question ourselves, and we can never live up to what we believe God wants from us. That’s why I thank the Lord everyday that Jesus is my Savior, and ask that he guide me in the direction he wants me to go! I’ve prayed for you Aron in this struggle, and I know God will be walking with you to work this out.

    • Aron Strong says:

      Thank you for the encouragement, Lisa! As a leader, I feel the weight of my role heavily. Leaders are held to a higher account because we have so much influence and what we do affects so many others. I don’t struggle with God’s approval as much as how my limitations hold others back from experiencing Jesus. That’s why I’m so grateful for grace!

      Thanks again for your thoughts. I appreciate your prayers!

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