“make every effort”

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control…

Between the effort to catch the wind of the Spirit, and ride that, and the effort required from the life and faith we have in God through Christ by the Spirit, there is a call for the Christian to work hard at, as well as work out our salvation. Of course we’re not talking about salvation by works, by our own effort. Any work we do is because of God’s grace active in our lives in Jesus.

A lot of this work will amount to simply waiting on God. That’s an important aspect of it. Spiritual disciplines rooted in scripture such as the examen, lectio divina, silence, etc., all require a diligence which does not, as a rule come natural to us. What is needed by the work of the Spirit in and through Jesus is that certain things become second nature to us over time through practice.

A wrong teaching and misunderstanding is the idea that we simply can’t do God’s will. We are going to sin in everything we do. Are we still going to sin? Yes, and the idea that we won’t sin in this life betrays a shallow understanding, I’m afraid, of what sin is, as well as missing that very point from scripture. But when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just through Christ to forgive us, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. All of this is part of the equation.

And so we go on. In this new life in God through Jesus. Looking forward not only to the redemption of our bodies in the resurrection, but growth in this new life here and now. Together in Jesus for the world.