Are you trying too hard to live the Christian life?

March 28, 2021 • Filed under:

Do you want to live a life that counts for God?

Very soon after I became a Christian, I was taught how to share my faith with others. I shared my faith everywhere I went, led Bible Studies, was a leader in a Christian organization all four years of college and then went into full-time Christian work.

I was trying so hard to please God and make my life count.

One night, at the age of 24, I was driving to a speaking engagement on campus and turned the car around.

I never showed up.

I knocked on my director’s front door, curled up on the living room floor in the fetal position in front of him and his wife and said I didn’t want to share my faith any more, or lead a Bible Study, or speak.

I kept saying, “Don’t make me.”

Something had gone very, very wrong. I was trying too hard. I was trying to make things happen by coming up with plans so I could be productive. I was trying to make God proud of me instead of realizing there was nothing more I could do to make Him love me more.

The key to living a fruitful life is here: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

If you and I are walking closely with Jesus, then we are bearing fruit!

If you and I are walking closely with Jesus, we are living in His power, not ours!

Unlike the lady who curled up in the fetal position of the campus director’s floor, I am learning not to try to make something happen. I am learning to follow God into things so He can make something happen, not me.

Now I often pray:

Lord, I look forward to living this day with You, March 28, expecting to bear much fruit

   because I am attached to the Vine,

to be a woman of stellar character

   because I am filled with the Holy Spirit,

and to be well taken care of by the God who created me for good purposes

   because only You know those purposes, not me.

Amen

At last, the Christian life is feeling more like an easy yoke and light burden spoken about in Matthew 11:29-30. Jesus is talking: Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Don’t get me wrong, life is still hard, as it is for each of us.

We have weeks where we cry quite a few tears, don’t we? We have weeks where difficulties come from every direction in a way that feels claustrophobic. We get confused, frustrated, angry and hurt. But we have Someone to take those emotions to. We have Someone to process life events with. Someone else bears the responsibility for outcomes as we do all we can do. There is so much less pressure on our shoulders when bearing responsibility only for our own hearts, thoughts and behaviors.

Jesus does not place the weight of outcomes on our shoulders.

More significantly, He promises magnificent outcomes if we just stay attached to Him.

Picture Explanation: Last summer I helped my church out by creating a bible study to deliver during COVID from my dining room table via Zoom. Once it ended, I thought I was done, but the study has lived on. It was time to make the videos more professional, which occurred last week. Stay tuned for One Gritty Blink. I am following God into something. The outcome belongs to Him. My burden is light.

© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

12 Comments

  • Ethel Romig says:

    Amen Laurie!

  • Sheila Rubino says:

    God’s perfect timing for me to hear! Now I have to really really let it sink in to my heart!!

  • Jennifer cole says:

    This is such a good reminder that it’s He that produces the fruit as we abide in Him. We can stop striving and just rest IN HIM. On another note, you look fantastic in those pictures! I can’t wait to watch the videos!!!

    • April Baker says:

      I went through something similar in a church I attended in New York. I thought the more I said yes to the more “approval ” I would receive.I finally had that “come to Jesus ” moment where I learned the lesson. Follow His lead and stop trying to get ahead of Him.

    • Laurie says:

      I wish I could grow the fruit, but I can’t. Only a life of faith, not striving.

      As for the videos…but God.

  • LeAnn says:

    Thank you for this reminder! You look beautiful! You are beautiful inside and out!
    I know that you look back on some of those years of your early service for the Lord and feel you weren’t always resting in the Lord to do the work through you. Please know, however, that in your faithfulness and in your great big heart, you made a difference in this girl’s life and in the lives of so many! You were Jesus to me in those college years when I had never seen Jesus before. You incarnated His love to a lost girl who became found! In your weakness, immaturity, AND FAITHFULNESS, He was strong and He saved! I am forever grateful!

    • Laurie says:

      What happened in college is very precious to me. I will never forget. Those were special years in Holland hall. There is a piece of my message I want to clarify, which you already know. All I knew to do, I was doing. In other words, I was filled with the Spirit because I was as surrendered as I knew how to be.

      You did get Jesus through me, my friend.

      But God knew the unseen layers of striving going on underneath and He had to let them be exposed to continue His transforming work. Boy, were they exposed, but today I am the better for it. And as I respond to you right now, there are more layers I don’t see. May He keep getting more of my heart. May the restoration project continue until I see Him face to face.

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