[CF Devotionals] 2016-09-21 - Strive

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The word, strive, as defined by dictionary.com (verb): to exert oneself vigorously; try hard: to make strenuous efforts toward any goal: to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete.

The act of striving toward a goal is not always easy. For us human beings there are many internal obstacles that can pop out at any moment, to get in the way of achieving continued excellence. Yet as I grew up, and then later as our kids were growing up, we continued to look at life ultimately from this point of view. Not everyone does so and it’s clear as we look around in our own parts of this fallen world. We have to decide if we would rather strive for excellence or mediocrity. Mediocrity is easy, and anywhere we go it’s clearly visible. People that operate lawn businesses that consistently leave grass blown all over streets, piled up in yard and even have trash mixed in that was run over and sprayed out is common place. People shop in stores and leave carts in the parking lot, wherever they feel like dropping them, instead of putting them in cart returns. People eat in restaurants and leave food that fell in the floor, because it’s someone else’s job. Other people eat takeout and drop trash wherever, and have little concern for the results of their choice. Television commercials show countless ways we can do jobs halfway with the same results, if we just “have their product”. People consistently show up for work late or leave early, not necessarily considering the agreement they made when taking on the responsibility of a job.

These types of situations occur with those who say they are followers of Christ, as well as others who have different beliefs or no professed beliefs at all. So what am I saying? If we want people to see that Jesus is an excellent choice, and that we strive to share His love for His glory, then we need to emulate our belief in our everyday living. Am I talking about perfection and wearing ourselves out? No!! I am talking about consistency in striving toward excellence in all we do, as our Father taught us in His relentless pursuit of us. Our pursuit is from an earthly view and his from a heavenly one. Yet we can show Him and others that no matter what is happening, we can always choose to strive toward excellence. We can, as much as we are able, work hard, avoid laziness, and allow our rewards to fulfill and encourage us (literally and spiritually); we can be a witness for the one who ultimately gave it all to us. It’s the least we can do, compared to what was done for us.

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. “ (Luke 16:10-14)

“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.” (Proverbs 12:24 NIV)

“Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.” (Proverbs 19:15 NIV)

“Through laziness, the rafters sag; because of idle hands, the house leaks.” (Ecclesiastes 10:18 NIV)

“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; …dquo; (Romans 12:10-12)

“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-12)

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CFD | September 2016 | Deborah's Devotions | Yesterday's Devotion | Devotional Topics

All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted