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?