Effort Required!

As we approach the 125th Anniversary of Highway Tabernacle, my mind reflects back to what I read about the early members of Highway. I discovered that the first pastor of the church, Pastor Reel, worked for the railway full-time, and pastored the church full-time! The people also worked hard at getting the gospel of Jesus to the city. They would travel around in a wagon, singing and witnessing to those who would listen. God blessed their steps of faith! From my observation of how life works, I see that sacrifice, discipline, and focus are interwoven with the power and blessing of God. Sadly, many believers today adopt an attitude that says, “It’s all up to God.” It’s as if they take themselves out of the equation and do little or nothing to pursue God. When reading 2 Peter today, verses 5 and 6 jumped out at me, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge self-control….” Peter is telling us here that the saving faith of Christ is not divorced from action and involvement. In fact, the evidence of true faith is the pursuit of godliness. To obey and seek the Lord is not just for “spiritual giants” but is “normal” Christianity. Speaking about this spiritual growth, Peter says, “make every effort.”  I get nervous about those who call themselves Christians and yet hardly make any effort to grow in faith. They rarely read the Bible, seldom pray (except when they want something), and look at gathering together at church as “take it or leave it.” Singer Keith Green said, “Jesus rose from the dead…and you can’t get out of bed!” As a pastor, I grieve over lame excuses and uncommitted attitudes. I picture believers standing before the Lord Jesus on that day when they give account of every action and word, and, after hearing yet another excuse for carnal living, I ask myself, “Will they use that excuse before Jesus on that day?” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not whining about others. I know that as a pastor I will be examined by the Lord and judged more strictly (see James 3:1). My point is this: growth in our faith and growth in the church is not just mindless or magical. God’s Word declares us to be “workers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). So, “make every effort”—not to try to earn your salvation, but because you are saved and want to grow in your relationship with Jesus!

Pastor Mark Boucher