stop trying harder

{Have you ever read the story of King David and Mephibosheth? If not, read it now in 2 Samuel 9.}

Inwardly, I know that I am crippled, but I do my best to hide it. I don’t want to live the life of a cripple, always needing to ask for help. I want the freedom of doing things on my own.

I tend to assume that the currency I bring before God is good. I try to serve Him with a pure heart, so I expect to be slowly healed of my handicap. After reading Scripture, though, I realize – and hate hearing – that my works are worthless to earn healing. That feels so harsh! I often prefer to think of it as simply the wrong kind, like I am trying to use US dollars in Uganda. But USD are worthless in Uganda unless you exchange them. And God’s kingdom doesn’t work with an exchange bank.

I am daily dependent on God’s grace, though I don’t always accept it or even want to.

I don’t know why I want so badly to do it myself. God’s generosity is a wonderful gift! I want to recognize His generosity the way Mephibosheth must have. I want to have the joy of knowing all is grace, all is a gift. But it goes against my natural tendency to want to prove myself and my capabilities.

The account both begins and ends with the statement that Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet (see verses 3, 13). Mephibosheth never got over his crippled condition. He never got the the place where he could leave the king’s table and make it on his own. And neither do we. (Jerry Bridges, Transforming Grace)

You, dear friend, are also crippled. You can’t make it on your own. As hard as you try, you will never find sufficiency in yourself for your job or your ministry or your relationships or your faith. Too often we try to do things on our own, assuming that it will help us grow. We think that we can practice walking to strengthen our legs – one day gaining enough strength to walk correctly and without assistance.

But the more I think about it, and the more I humble my own spirit, the more I am blessed by the knowledge that, no matter how hard I work at it,  I cannot make it happen. It’s not that I need to try harder, and there is freedom in accepting that! If I know that something is just out of my reach — if I work hard enough, I can gain the strength to go just a little further — I can’t rest until I practice and accomplish. But there is rest in knowing that I need to stop trying to be good enough. I must daily live as a recipient of God’s generosity. All is grace, whether it’s my marriage or my ministry or my own walk with God. He will daily carry me to His table, and anything that is accomplished by me is by Him.

As you process through what life has handed you right now, turn and look to God to be the one to carry you through. Ask for eyes to see His grace in action, and let go of the burden that you just need to try harder. Make that choice daily to let go.




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