Not long ago, someone very close to me was preparing for a physical test. She hadn’t prepared as much as she would have liked, but she was in the midst of the hour long ride to the test. I texted her a picture similar to the one included here (I’m not posting the same picture here for fear of the copy-write police). But the words, “Do or do not. There is no try.” came through loud and clear.
Her response was equally clear, “WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP SENDING ME THAT?!?”
She survived her test – although she has a long way to go for success. Later, I attempted to explain to her how “I’ll try.” is a defeatist attitude. But she didn’t really want to hear it.
But that is the reality. “I’ll try.” is defeatist, it lacks any commitment, any idea of hope for a positive outcome. This is especially true in our spiritual lives.
Most of us – at some point and in some way – have said, “I try to live for God everyday.” In so thinking, we hamstring ourselves right out of the gate. We consistently quote Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But we show our lack of true faith and anything but true commitment to Christ when we walk around with an attitude of, “I’ll try. I don’t know if anything good will come of it. But I’ll give my best.”
Scripture tells us repeatedly that we have been given everything necessary to live a holy life. Here is just one:
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
We can live a holy life as we rely on the strength and training of the Holy Spirit.
This is not to say that we will simply waltz through life by “naming it and claiming it” or without any shortcomings or failures. I could repeat, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” until I’m blue in the face and believe it with my whole heart. But one pull-up will continue to be impossible for this tubby, middle-aged, former athlete without a lot of long, hard training.
And that is it. It is the training in the Lord that gives us strength. It is exercising our faith through reading His word, communicating through prayer, and fellowship with other believers that changes our attitude from “I’ll try.” to “I’ll do it.”
We have everything we need to live a godly, holy life. He is a loving Father and He gives us the tools we need to succeed. But, like the weight set that lives in the garage, or the exercise bike that is now a coat rack, the tools must be used if we are to gain strength.
As we use the tools that our Father has given us, “I’ll try to live for God.” becomes “I will live for You everyday, Lord. Because you are my strength and my life.”