“Cease striving and know that I am God.”
What do you do when things aren’t going your way? Or perhaps when things aren’t going as quickly as you would like? Our human nature prompts us to strive whenever we encounter challenges in life. We grapple and struggle and calculate and contrive to whatever extent we feel necessary to get the outcome we are after.
While the Bible no doubt teaches we are to do our part in going after what God has called us to accomplish, there is an important difference between working wholeheartedly for the Lord and striving in our own strength to accomplish a goal. We know we are striving when we feel like it is all on us to make something happen.
Have you ever found yourself striving? I have. And to be honest, it is an exhausting place to be. Just recently I found myself praying, asking God why I was so weary and frustrated. He brought John 15:5 to mind.
John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
As I read those words “…for apart from Me you can do nothing” I realized the reason I was feeling so overwhelmed. I was striving in my own strength rather than abiding in God’s.
God tells us there is a way of working, a way to get where He is leading without striving. God wants us to avoid thinking the outcome is based on our efforts; instead He wants us to trust Him and walk in obedience. While the outcome may not be exactly what we envisioned, the process of walking with God and seeing Him work in our lives is what truly matters.
Consider the story of Peter. In John 21 we read how Peter and a few fellow disciples had been fishing all night with nothing to show for their toil. Then Jesus called out to Peter from the shore and told Him to cast his net out on the other side of the boat. Peter obeyed. It was a simple act of obedience, yet it yielded incredible results – results he would not have experienced if he had not obeyed.
Like Peter, we are called to do our part, but the results are up to God.
Today, ask God to show you when you are striving rather than abiding. Ask Him to show you how to simply walk in faith and trust Him with the outcome. There is no need to be exhausted and overwhelmed my friend, choose today to abide rather than strive.