Is God looking for effort or perfection?

When you were young, do you remember how your parents would encourage you to “Do your best” when you had a big test or performance or ball game?  You may have also heard the quote “Do your best, and let God take care of the rest.”  What if your best isn’t looking so hot?  What do you do then?  Is God looking for our best, or is He looking for us?  What about effort…does it count for anything?

Effort
Romans 12:1 urges us to “…present our bodies a living a holy sacrifice, acceptable and well-pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

What do we do when what we have to present to God is not a beautifully-wrapped gift tied in a crisp gold bow?  What if we are broken and bleeding on the inside and what we have to present to God is wrapped in tattered cloths, stained with our tears?  What if that is our best?  Is it enough?

I have learned that when we are unable to present our best to God, our effort is enough.

There was a season in my life where I really wrestled with my faith.  I had been injured in a car wreck, and my injuries persisted despite many trips to the altar for prayer.  I was angry at God and I railed at Him for how I felt He was treating me.  I said things like, “If this is what Your love is like, then I don’t want it!”  It was a spiritual crisis unlike anything I had ever experienced.   I was ready to walk away from my faith and not look back.  It was the dark night of my soul.

I still went to church with my family, but when worship started, I was in a quandary.  I could not truthfully stand at the altar and worship God with my whole heart.  If I sang the lyrics, I would be lying through my teeth as at that moment, I didn’t really like or love God.

So I just stood there.

Silent.
Still.
Broken.

And Holy Spirit whispered in my heart that my effort was enough.  The very fact that I stood there was worship.  It was not my best offering…I was not swaying or lifting my hands or singing with gusto, but as I presented myself to God at the altar, it was acceptable and well-pleasing to Him.  It made Him happy.   He was not looking for my best….He was just looking for me.  ME….I am what makes Him happy.

There will be times in our lives where we are not at our best.  We may be struggling spiritually, or emotionally, or physically.  In those times, the things we do, whether it is our profession or serving or caring for our family, may not be top notch.  It may not be our best work.  But we will be trying.  We will be making an effort.  God is not looking for perfection, but He is looking for effort.

And when all we can do is try, our effort is enough.

EffortWords
What about you?  What situation are you in where you feel like you can’t offer God your best, but you are still making an effort?  Hit  “reply” or leave me a comment.

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