Are you inclined to strive or to abide in your life? In a recent episode of the Connecting Faith and Work podcast, host Bob Willbanks presents a concept he has been thinking through in recent months: striving to abide.
Striving to abide. What do we mean by that? In this podcast episode, and the blog below, we unpack Bob's thoughts on striving, abiding, and resting in Christ.
"I strive a lot... whenever I see something that needs to be done I want to put it on my back and strive to get it done."
Defining Striving and Abiding
Striving toward things of this earth can have a major impact on relationships, career, finances, and your spiritual life.
Bob shares that the more the evil one can get us into the mode of reliance on self, the less we think of - and trust in - God. Failing to put God first in your life negatively impacts your ability to be a light for Christ in your home and in the marketplace.
On the flip side of striving too hard, is the mindset that you can sit around and wait for God to work. However, God is clear in Scripture that there are things He wants us to go and do in our lives.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
You are meant to go. You are meant to work diligently. However, it is important to be intentional about what you are directing your energy toward.
The Connecting Faith and Work podcast producer, Larry Kutzler, joins Bob Willbanks in this episode to share his perspective on this topic of striving to abide. Larry notes that being self-aware is very helpful when considering striving and abiding.
Larry shares that he can fool himself pretty well. He can say that he is abiding in Christ because he did his daily devotional reading. However, if you live the rest of your day contrary to God's will, it doesn't matter if you had devotional time that day.
Start Striving to Abide
Instead of striving for things of this earth, point your striving desire towards abiding in God. You will begin to trust Him more, and over time you'll find yourself abiding in God more than you strive for worldly things.
Bob shares how too much striving manifests itself in physical cues. These include muscle tension, illness, anger, and more. As you refocus your striving, be aware of your own stress triggers.
When you encounter a physical trigger that you are relying on your own strength, take time to surrender the stress, striving, and trigger to God. As you trust God with what you are striving toward, meditate on Scripture, and abide in God's truth.
A Challenge for You
Consider the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23
Are they one or two characteristics that you find yourself striving towards in your own strength? How can you abide in Christ in that area of your life?
Reflect on this Scripture as you meditate on this challenge.
"Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word."