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Effort

“God . . . set no limits for any of us on the spiritual plane . . . We are called to eternal life in the Kingdom of our Father which is in heaven.” Yet, as the Lord states, “entry into the Kingdom inevitably entails suffering. Many decline the Father’s gift of love precisely because the utmost effort is required.” (Archimandrite Sophrony, Dynamis 12/18/2020)


“John 8:31-42, especially vs. 31: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” Today’s passage from Saint John’s Gospel details the steps we undertake when we unite ourselves to the Lord Jesus. The first step in the process is the decision outlined for us in John 8:21-30: we commit to Christ as King and God. This decision, however, is only the beginning of our lifelong effort to grow in relationship with the Lord. The Church Fathers call this effort a struggle, and a what battle it is! Many forces oppose us whenever we seek to draw closer to Christ. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this battle takes place within ourselves as we endeavor to submit our every choice and action to the Lord. Sustaining this interior struggle to attain union with God is what Christ, in this passage, calls “abiding” in His word.” (Dynamis 5/16/2020)


“It’s never simple to break old habits. You may decide it takes too much effort—yet you make physical efforts to exercise and diet to change your appearance. That won’t matter when you die. But the challenge of entering on the excursion to God’s Kingdom, finding the starting place within your very heart, will be of infinitely greater value to you, and worth all that it takes to make the effort. And it begins by recognizing that you may be a slave to your environment. If so, then you must with Christ’s help set yourself free. And it will all begin with silence, attention and determined effort.” (Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky)


“In God’s eyes, the effort is equal to the achievement….Our Lord rewards our efforts regardless of whether they are effective. Whether or not we achieve our worthy goals, God sees and rewards the effort… If you make the effort, God will reward you as if you had achieved your goal, even if you don’t….I’ve begun to understand why God would be so generous: achievement in this fallen world is somewhat random…In this world, we are so focused on whether our efforts are effective. We don’t want to waste our efforts – we want to keep trying if we’re effective, and to change course if we’re not. But with God, nothing is ever wasted. We may feel discouraged when we work selflessly toward a goal and cannot achieve it, but God knows. He knows better than we do that we are powerless, that we can make the best effort and still fall short.” (Elissa Bjeletich)


“When we make a concerted effort to be centered in Christ, each and every day, each and every hour, we make way for a heart and mind that is always in a good place, and we allow the love of Christ to be seen and experienced by others. When we put aside ourselves and put on Christ, we become God’s messengers.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“For the Lord crowns not success, but effort. We can’t always control success, but we can always control effort.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Desire and effort must come from you. God will provide the power and the result.” (St. Paisios the Athonite)

“Faith and love are gifts from God, as is sanctity. Each virtue requires our active cooperation with God if we are to move toward holiness. God’s grace must be coupled with our own efforts.” (Dynamis 11/6/2018)

“From God comes grace, but from us comes labor. Therefore, let no one even think that the Holy Apostles relied solely on the God-given grace, or that it was easy for them, or that they performed their great work in the world without effort…so it was that the Apostles did not rely on grace alone, but also put forth nearly superhuman effort to show themselves worthy of God’s grace.” (St. Nikolai Velimirovich)

“We shouldn’t confuse the results of our efforts with the value of our efforts. Nor should we think we don’t need to make the effort to be as Christ wants us to be in response to His grace. If we are sincere in our hearts, meaning our priorities are in order and everything we are doing is flowing from worshiping and loving God in spirit and in truth, we can trust that He knows our efforts and He is in control. Too often we measure effort by worldly standards of success and let dejection cloud our thinking and rob us of our joy.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“I have some very good news for you—God is more concerned with effort than with results!…the ideal of the Christian life is for each of us to make an effort to grow in Christ on a consistent basis. The effort is the crowning achievement in the eyes of God.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Spiritual fulfillment and true happiness have suffered from the fast pace of modern society…Our intentions may be honorable, but we so easily capitulate to the espoused routine of life, simply because we do not make any effort to spirituality gird ourselves to follow the Christian course, which holds the fulfillment we all desire.” (Fr. George Papadeas)

“God wants to produce His character in us. But to do this, He demands our discipline and effort. As we obey Christ, who guides us by His Spirit, we will develop self-control..." (Life Application Study Bible, 2 Peter 1:6)

“The Church is the hospital of the soul, but healing can come only if we put effort into it. If your doctor prescribes a medication for your condition but you fail to follow your doctor’s orders, you will not get well. The Church has all you need for spiritual transformation, but healing comes only if you cooperate with the healing process.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Jesus tells us to persist in pursuing God. People often give up after a few halfhearted efforts and conclude that God cannot be found. But knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow-through...Trusting in God simply means you believe God will protect you. It means making a conscious effort to focus from your fear and onto God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 7:7-8, Ed Strauss)

“The Christian life is not "rocket science"; it is simple. To live simply, however, takes deliberate effort. That is, it must be done deliberately and takes great time and energy.” (Bishop John)

“True Christian faith does not consist of a gnostic, inward change detached from our outward behavior. Rather, our faith generates an inner transformation, a sober evaluation of ourselves, and tangible efforts at living a life worthy of our calling in Christ Eph 4:1).” (Dynamis 7/18/2015)

“The conscience is a gift God has bestowed on us that tells us when we have sinned against Him and against our neighbor. It calls us to turn from our sin and to seek to change the patterns of behavior that have caused us to sin. This tug by our conscience can be counterproductive if we make no effort to change our behavior. It can also be counterproductive if we simply give in to despair and resign ourselves to our sinful behavior, as though there were no cure for our illness. The sense of guilt is meant to aid in the fight to turn around our bad behavior.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“Faint-heartedness” is a vice or temptation allied to laziness. This is the notion that we cannot accomplish anything anyway, so why bother to try? What for? We will only fail, so why make the effort?” (Bishop Basil Losten)

“Christ promises that, through Him, encountering God the Father makes sense of our struggle with life and supports our efforts to bear up under the weight of all that experience ‘dishes out.’” (Dynamis 7/5/2014)

“Our Christian life consists of a sustained effort to recover our lost likeness to God… Spiritual growth occurs as a result of intentional and appropriate effort.” (Dynamis 5/4/2015, Jerry Bridges)

“It’s ironic to me that when people want to get fit, they put in effort to diet and exercise. If they want to make more money, they put in effort to work harder and/or educate themselves more. But for some reason they don’t translate this same level of effort into what is most important in life – their relationship with God.” (Sacramental Living)

“There are different ways to fail to commit whatever we do to the Lord. Some people commit their work only superficially. They say the project is being done for the Lord, but in reality they are doing it for themselves. Others give God temporary control of their interests, only to take control back the moment things stop going the way they expect. Still others commit a task fully to the Lord, but put forth no effort themselves, and then they wonder why they do not succeed. We must maintain a delicate balance: trusting God as if everything depended on Him, while working as if everything depended on us." (Life Application Study Bible, Proverbs 16:3)

“Now we cannot...discover our failure to keep God's law except by trying our very hardest (and then failing). Unless we really try, whatever we say there will always be at the back of our minds the idea that if we try harder next time we shall succeed in being completely good. Thus, in one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, You must do this. I can't.” (C. S. Lewis)

“A drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself.” (Watchman Nee)


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